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EKG showing 'false previous heart attack'

Did ever anybody have an EKG which showed a "previous heart attack"?  I've heard that one in three heart attacks can be silent.  My cardiologist said not to worry because my two additional EKG's did not show a "previous heart attack", and that he has seen numerous patients with false "previous heart attacks" on their EKG's since the computers give the test results now when the EKG is done.  I had numerous other tests done and all came back "normal".  The first EKG which showed this previous heart attack was done when I was under enormous stress during a panic attack in the ER.  MY BP was way over 200 and the EKG showed also PVC's.  My cardiologist explained to me that people with previous heart attacks also can show PVC's on their EKG's and therefor the computer spit out that I had a previous heart attack which I didn't.

I saw another cardiologist for a second opinion, and he took it very lightly and said "you have no idea how many "false previous heart attacks" the computerized EKG's are spitting out.

This is not that I am NOT trusting these cardiologists, but when you had an EKG which shows a previous heart attack that is very scary.

My question is this:  If there really was a "previous heart attack" would ALL EKG's show this? Or can just one EKG show it and the following EKG's not show it?

BTW, I'm on meds now for my BP, and my BP is fine.  I've severe white coat syndrome when going to the doctor especially if I have a symptom I don't know what its about and my BP will go through the roof.
6 Responses
239757 tn?1213813182

Thanks for the post.

The computer reading on an eck is an interpretation based on algorhythms programmed into the computer.  While it is right most of the time, it still is frequently wrong and the actual final reading should always be done by a physician.

Depending on the placement of the leads or position of the patient at the time of the ecg, some things can  change on the ecg.  Also, changes in blood pressure especially the marked elevation you intially had, can sometimes lead to changes on the ecg.  So changes seen on one ecg may not be on another.

Some people can have changes on thier ecg that are suggestive of a previous heart attack, and never of had one.

An ecg is a tool and must be taken in the clinical context of which it is obtained.  It sounds as if your physicians have looked deeper into the findings and not found too much.  

For now focus on keeping your blood pressure under good control and maintaing a healthy lifestyle.

good luck
Avatar universal
In my opinion you have nothing to worry about. The fact that one EKG showed a previous Heart Attack and that subsequent EKG's show no previous Heart Attack is very reassuring. The doctors are right in that many new computerized EKG machines show a lot of different abnormalties that aren't accurate. If you really did have a previous Heart Attack, it would show up on every EKG.

Avatar universal
Thanks Erik.  I do need to relax, you're right :)
Avatar universal
Dear Doctor,

Thank you for your response.  Yes, my BP is under control at home.  I still have severe white coat syndrome (for the last 30 yrs, I was in therapy, biofeedback etc plus on meds none of it has helped) My cardiologist told me to take my BP at home and bring in my BP readings.  He is very satisfied with my readings.  He also explained to me that when having an anxiety attack, severe anger or severe stress at that moment the BP meds will not help any, the BP still will shoot up.  I've suffered from panic attacks since the age of 15 (am now 61) and got them under control for the last 20 yrs without meds, none of the meds helped but reading a book helped me.  But the white coat syndrome is something else.  I hope some day to get over that too.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your reply.  I think I have a book by Clare Weeks on my bookshelf-if not I will get one!  I understand your fear of getting your BP taken.  During my recent pregnancy, I developed the same fear.  I think now that I'm not pregnant, it might be gone, but I'm not sure.  So many things I go through turn out to be self-fulfilling prophecies.  I am going to  try to kick ativan, but I also want to lose weight, so I might not try the M&Ms ;-)

Thanks again.
Avatar universal

The books can still be purchased on amazon.com.  Good luck to you, and don't hesitate to ask if you've a question.
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