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ECG - Can It Diagnose All Heart Attacks?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Himanshu Yadav 86% (12 ratings)
DM - Cardiology, MD - Internal Medicine
Cardiologist, Agra  •  8 years experience
ECG - Can It Diagnose All Heart Attacks?

An ECG, or electrocardiograph, is a procedure to detect abnormalities in your heart by looking for unusual electrical signals from it. It is performed with the help of a machine called the electrocardiogram. This process is usually painless, and with very low risks for turning invasive. Therefore, it is recommended if you think you might have major heart disease. However, consulting your doctor before it is necessary.

She/he may prescribe it for you only when you have symptoms like chest pain, breathing problems, unusual exertion even after trivial everyday work, or if she/he detects signals from your heart that are unusual in strength or frequency during a checkup. She/he may also ask you to steer clear if they think this process will cause complications for you.

What is the role of an ECG? What heart problems does it help detect?

Following are the major heart disorders an ECG may help you detect:

Hypertension, or increased blood pressure: this happens when blood is flowing through your blood vessels at a speed and pressure greater than what is considered normal for your age, sex, height and weight. This, if unchecked, can lead to strokes or a heart attack. It is also related to kidney disorders. To lower your risks, you must quit smoking, have plenty of physical exercise and a healthy diet consisting of natural products like green vegetables.

• A previous heart attack: an ECG may show you if you have had undetected heart attacks in the past, a condition called a myocardial infarction. This may put your heart at risk for further heart attacks or may end up compromising your body and immune system altogether.

Is an ECG helpful in detecting all kinds of heart attacks?

Yes, ECG is a useful tool to detect all types of heart attacks. In fact, heart attacks are classified on the basis of the type of abnormal signal detected by an ECG, implying it can detect all types, and differentiate between them.

The following are the types of heart attack detected by an ECG (this includes all types of heart attacks):

• A STEMI attack: The ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, caused by the heart not getting the requisite amount of blood delivered to it for a long duration. The ST statement is a statement from the ECG that helps confirm there is heart disease.

• A Non-STEMI (NSTEMI) attack: this of a less severe variety, and is caused by partial blockage of the heart, resulting in it not getting blood supply for a short time.

Unstable angina: in this type, the blood delivery to the heart is restricted, but not enough to kill off or entirely damage the muscle or tissue.

An ECG or electrocardiograph is a minimally invasive and very painless procedure to diagnose all sorts of heart attacks with the help of abnormal electrical signals from your heart. If you suspect you are at risk for heart attack, you should see your doctor about this measure immediately.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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