I'm a 19 year old male. I visited the ER 3 weeks ago thinking I was having a heart attack only to find out it
was a panic attack. I had an ECG and blood tests. My BNP level was <2 while my troponin levels at <0.1. Apparently normal results.
They had told me my ekg was normal. They took it when my heart was racing around 145 bpm in the midst of my panic attack. Afterwards they gave me anxiety meds which slowed down my heart rate because I no longer panicked.
The reading from the ekg on the copy handout they had given me, reads the following across the top. "Sinus tachycardia, biatrial enlargement, rightward axis, pulmonary disease pattern, nonspecific ST and T wave abnormality, and at the bottom I assume the last thing listed, is supposed to be an overall interpretation of the ekg which read "abnormal ekg".
They took one more ekg at the end of my visit after I was sedated and I was done with my panic attack, the results read the following, "normal sinus rhythm, right atrial enlargement, rightward axis, and overall interpretation "borderline ekg".
What I'm curious to know is, why did they tell me both ekgs looked great and there was no cause for concern about my heart in this situation, when it clearly states on my handout "right atrial enlargement, biatrial enlargement, pulmonary disease pattern, and the overall result on the one where I was panicing, reads "abnormal ekg"? This concerns me very much.
2 months ago I had an echocardiogram and a holter monitor both which had come back normal?
You are reading the ECG's computer interpretation made from electrical measurements. These are mostly timing measurements between major events during the cardiac cycle (One complete beat). There are waves assocaited with when the atrai contract, when the ventricle contract, and when the muscles recover from the contraction and reset themselve. These are called the P, Q, R, S, and T wave. Some people also have a U wave. The duartion of the waves themselves can have meaning, so can the time between the waves or groups of waves. My goal here is to give you some idea that there is a lot of stuff going on and being measured over the coarse of about 1/2 of a second.
The computer is programmed to say things like, IF P wave>200 miliseconds then it might be A or B or C (ABC being possible issues).
It's WIDE open to interpretation!!!
The results of the ECG usually lead to other more conclusive tests. So don't sweat it. You are adding to your anxiety levels. Your focus is on something that is OK, it should be on learning to manage you anxiety. As a fellow anxiety sufferer, I feel your pain. I've lived what you are going through and after 20 years of it, I'm still here in as good a shape as ever.
Thank you for your insight. It is very helpful. I am going absolutely crazy with thinking something is wrong with my heart. If I was experiencing atrial fibrillation, and it showed up on my ekg at the ER, would they have told me? All they were looking for was whether it was a heart attack or not but do you think they would've caught it if it was something like AFib?
Yes they would of seen afib and told you, when you go in and your hooked up it shows everything your heart is doing and it would of showed afib or any ray them that was not normal, so fear they would of missed it
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