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Abnormal ECG
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Abnormal ECG

I am a 56 yr old female who was just diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. I had an ECG done and it came back abnormal. The results of the ECG are as follows:

Intervals Axis
Rate: 66 P: 82
PR: 126 QRS: 68
QRSD: 78 T: 67
QT: 404
QTc: 423
Interpretive Statements
Normal sinus rhythm
Possible Left atrial enlargement
Cannot rule out Anterior infarct, age undetermined
Abnormal ECG

What does these results respresent?
Avatar_f_tn
All the first data with numbers appears essentially fine. The abnormal result is due to the "cannot rule out anterior infarct, age undetermined." The possible left atrial enlargement is a common finding and of no major concern typically.

Back to the anterior infarct comment. This means that based on your EKG, you have changes in the appearance which would be consistent with a history of heart attack (infarction) involving the anterior wall (front wall) of your heart. The age undetermined part means that when someone has a heart attack, in the acute setting (chest pain, first 24-48 hours or so), there are very specific changes that make us able to tell about how long this has been developing for. After the 24-48 hours, the changes evolve into a pattern which suggests a heart attack, but we cannot tell if it happened 7 days ago or 7 years ago. That is because the damage from the heart attack was done and completed, and the tissue affected is now damaged and likely irreversibly so.

With all that said, this doesn't mean that an EKG that says this means the person definitely had a heart attack. There are even normal EKGs that can look like a prior heart attack sometimes, and the definitive way to determine would be to image the heart with an echocardiogram to see if there is abnormal motion of that part of the heart or a scarred appearance which would confirm this diagnosis.

Finally, and most important, is that the reading may represent just the computer algorithm. The way this works is that many EKG machines are designed to print findings on the EKG right off the bat based on patterns the computer sees, BUT, the official EKG read is made by the cardiologist and over reads the machine. The computer is designed to be inclusive and include as many things as possible, but it is the cardiologist experience and expertise at reading them that is the standard and trumps anything the machine says. Therefore, the EKG machine read is just a preliminary, especially to help guide physicians who may not be as well versed in EKG minute details as cardiologists (primary care physicians, ED docs, etc).

I would advise you to review the result of your EKG with your physician, and if they have concerns based on their experience, then pursue further testing if necessary.
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