A thorough assessment is needed to establish the cause of your heart rhythm problem. This allows for an appropriate management plan. An ECG or Electrocardiogram recording is essential to an accurate diagnosis.
A resting ECG can often provide a clue to the diagnosis even when recorded in the absence of any symptoms. Patients with a normal resting ECG are unlikely to have a dangerous rhythm abnormality. The likelihood of this is even less if the heart is normal.
What is an ECG?
A simple ultrasound scan of the heart (echocardiogram) can detect many structural abnormalities. An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a simple test that can be used to check your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity.
Sensors attached to the skin are used to detect the electrical signals produced by your heart each time it beats. These signals are recorded by a machine and are looked at by a doctor to see if they’re unusual.
An ECG is a quick, safe and painless test. No electricity is put into your body while it’s carried out. There may be some slight discomfort when the electrodes are removed from your skin. This can be similar to removing a sticking plaster so is not painful. Some people may develop a mild rash where the electrodes were attached.
Continuous or intermittent ECG monitoring can help capture symptoms that are intermittent. If that is unsuccessful, insertion of an implantable loop recorder under the skin can help with symptoms that only occur occasionally.
More details of how an ECG is carried out can be found on the NHS website.
When is an ECG used?
An ECG can help detect various conditions in a patient so taking the test gives a clinician a clear understanding of your symptoms. These may include arrhythmias, where the heart beats too slowly, too quickly, or irregularly or cardiomyopathy which is when the heart walls become thickened or enlarged. Coronary heart disease or heart attacks can also be picked up on during the test so it offers clear diagnosis.
Contact Dr Begley
Dr David Begley is a Consultant Cardiologist in the UK who specialises in cardiac rhythm management. This is the investigation and treatment of heart rhythm abnormalities or arrhythmias.
He welcomes you to his clinic to discuss your symptoms. To make an appointment please contact Dr David Begley’s Personal Assistant, Lynn Thomas via our contact us page, phone on 01223 850 423 or email.