Today I went in for a general physical, nothing unusual. When the doctor was checking my pulse, she told me it was a bit faint and had me undergo an EKG, which indicated I had right axis deviation. I asked how serious it was and she said she didn't know but certainly didn't do anything to reassure me. Now I have to schedule an echo cardiogram to see if I have serious complications.
How serious is this and how worried should I be???
I'm also a 20 year old half-Asian/half-Caucasian male 5'8" and 148 lbs. I don't have a history of substance abuse or any super serious illnesses or medical complications. Within the past few months, however, I had a hypoglycemic episode that caused heart palpitations for a short while and made me feel like garbage for a few weeks afterwards. I also had a panic attack that was triggered by family-related anxiety. I'm also a college student and frequently undersleep while subjecting myself to a good amount of stress.
I don't think there's any way to tell without doing the echo. Most of the time I think RAD is a benign finding but you have to get the echo done to make sure. That's why the doc can't really give you any answers yet.
A vertical or slightly right axis is normal in young people. Older people often have a left axis as the left ventricle tends to grow with age, effort and higher blood pressure. In addition, with higher heart rate (from 80 and higher) the axis tends to turn rightwards. From 130 and above, it turns leftwards again, and I have no idea why :)
An echo is done to rule out an enlarged right ventricle, which is often a consequence of lung diseases (asthma, COPD, etc..) or so-called primary pumonary hypertension (incidence about 1 to 100.000 or so). But as itdood said, most of the time this is a benign finding and not a diagnosis or a disease.
To itdood: no I haven't had an echo done yet. I'm trying to get one as soon as possible, but I'm not sure when I can get one...hopefully soon, though.
To is_something_wrong: would there be any other very noticeable serious problems with my heart if I had any of the problems you mentioned? I don't believe I'm displaying any super serious symptoms. I have felt a little uneasy, sometimes in the chest region, but I think that's due to certain family-related anxiety issues I've been coping with recently. Aside from the RAD (and I don't know how severe it is), my EKG came up normal.
The problem is, with conditions like yours, they are almost always benign and doesn't matter at all, but in some cases they are a sign of something more serious. We can't tell you for sure, for several reasons. The most important one; we are patients, not physicians. Second, we can't see or interpret your EKG, and we don't know the whole context. Your physician should know.
In young people (especially females using birth control meds) the doctors are afraid of pulmonary emboly as a cause for RAD. This would usually give other EKG signs as well, and usually serious symptoms. I assume the doctor listened to your lungs and didn't find anything unusual.
Like I said, the axis usually turns rightwards with moderate increased heart rate (100-130). Young people often have a vertical or slightly right axis (you didn't mention your axis in degrees so it's hard to say how marked this is) opposite to old people with a more massive left ventricle, producing a leftward axis (often caused by hypertension).
It may also depend on how your heart is positioned in the chest.
I'm sorry I can't provide a better answer. Like I said, your physician needs to see this in context (what your symptoms are, etc..)
You would know if you had a lung disease. Primary pulmonary hypertension is often asymtomatic but as you can see, it's really uncommon.
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