Abnormal EKG: What Is An Abnormality?
An abnormality is a condition that is not normal. A person with an abnormality may have some or all of the following characteristics:
A physical feature that differs from other people’s (e.g., being shorter than average) or from those seen in medical textbooks (e.g., having extra fingers).
A mental characteristic that differs from those expected for one’s age and gender (e.g., having learning disabilities).
A psychological or emotional characteristic that differs from those expected for one’s age and gender (e.g., depression).
A behavior characteristic that differs from those expected for one’s age and gender (e.g., repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, eating disorders, etc.).
In most cases, an abnormality is not caused by any disease or illness. However, it might be related to another problem. For example, a child born with spina bifida may develop problems later in life due to the presence of a hole in their spine. In these cases, the doctor will diagnose them as having Down syndrome. Another example would be someone whose heart rate is significantly higher than that of others.
If this is accompanied by other problems, they may be diagnosed with a heart condition.
In this post we discussed about what is an abnormality. We also touched upon abnormal ekg examples. Additionally, we also discussed about what does an abnormal ekg look like. Furthermore, we also gave out information on what is an abnormal ecg reading. At last, we also gave knowledge on what are the signs of an abnormal ekG.
What Is An Abnormal EKG?
An ekg (electrocardiogram) is a test which measures the activity of the heart by recording its electrical activity. It displays this activity in the form of a wave on a screen. The waves that are displayed are identified as the P, Q, R, S, and T waves. These waves are usually referred to in an EKG report.
The EKG is a short test that can be performed on a patient who has chest pain or other heart issues that might be causing it. It measures the electrical activity of the heart to see if an abnormality exists. Common EKG recordings include a normal sinus rhythm, atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia and others. A normal EKG is necessary to rule out potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks and cardiomyopathy.
There are two types of EKG:
The 12-lead EKG which records the electrical activity from twelve different leads that are attached to the patient’s chest.
A 6-lead EKG which records the electrical activity from six different leads that are connected to the patient’s chest.
An EKG report consists of a series of waves (identified as P, Q, R, S, and T waves) that are displayed on a graph. Several abnormalities in these waves may be detected from this report, some of which require immediate attention.
What Does An Abnormal EKG Look Like?
There are several types of EKG reports that can be generated. Common types of EKG reports include:
The normal EKG report which displays a series of waves on a graph with normal parameters. No damage is detected from this EKG report.
The abnormal EKG report displays a series of waves on a graph with minor or moderate damage such as scarring or slight damage to the heart. This damage is not immediately life-threatening but may become so over time.
The critical EKG report displays a series of waves on a graph that displays extensive damage to the heart. This damage is usually life-threatening and requires immediate attention.
Some conditions that may result in a critical EKG include:
A normal EKG report is necessary to rule out potentially dangerous conditions such as heart attacks, cardiomyopathy, and more. An EKG is a noninvasive test that can be performed by medical professionals to give a reading of the electrical activity of the heart.
What Are The Signs Of An Abnormal EKG?
There are several signs that can point to an abnormal EKG. Some of these signs include:
If the heartbeat is too fast, too slow, or irregular it may be a sign of an abnormality. The rate at which the heart should beat at rest is between 60-100 beats per minute. If the heart rate is higher or lower than this it may be a sign of an abnormality.
An irregular heartbeat is a condition in which the heartbeat varies in speed and rhythm. An EKG can be used to detect an irregular heartbeat by measuring the waveforms on the graph. If these waves are not uniform in shape or size this is a sign that the heart beat is irregular.
If the heart is spasming this may be causing small sections of the heart to stop beating. This causes the EKG to display abnormally low and flat lines on the report. If these lines appear between regular waves this may be a sign that the heart is spasming.
Irregular Heartbeat Pattern
If the EKG displays an irregular pattern throughout the report this may be a sign that the heart is having problems. Irregular patterns can include missing, extra, low, and flat lines on the report.
Extrasystoles are also known as fibrillations. Fibrillations are caused by small sections of the heart spasming out of control. These spasms are very weak and don’t allow blood to flow freely through the heart. The EKG report will display small, irregular waves in the place of normal waves.
NOTE: if fibrillations happen a lot and the heart isn’t receiving enough oxygenated blood it may cause sudden cardiac arrest.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Abnormal EKG?
The symptoms of an abnormal EKG can differ depending on the type of irregularity. Some of the more common symptoms include:
Shortness of breath
Palpitations (Uncomfortable fluttering in the chest)
If you experience any of these symptoms you should immediately contact a medical professional. You should also seek immediate attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:
Feeling unusually tired or experiencing shortness of breath after minimal physical activity.
Experiencing chest pain
If you experience any of these symptoms, do not delay in seeking medical attention.
NOTE: These symptoms can also be an indication of more severe conditions such as heart attack or heart failure. It is advised that if you experience any of these symptoms you seek immediate medical attention rather than wait until you have time.
How Is An Abnormal EKG Diagnosed?
If an EKG shows any signs of abnormality, it will be sent to a cardiologist or other medical doctor who will then examine it. The examining physician will look through the EKG for any signs of abnormality and may order other tests to check for more specific conditions that might be causing the problem.
These tests can include more EKGs, blood work, and an analysis of the heart using ultrasound.
NOTE: Other conditions that mimic the symptoms of an abnormal EKG can include anxiety, stress, and panic attacks. It is advised you seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. Do not try to self-diagnose and only use this article as a general guide.
What Are The Treatment Options For An Abnormal EKG?
The first step is usually to treat the symptoms by treating the cause. If the cause of the heart abnormality is due to an infection or another condition, that condition will need to be treated. The next step is usually to go on medication that stabilizes and strengthens the heart beat. In some serious cases a patient may require surgery to repair the area of the heart that is causing problems.
NOTE: If you are diagnosed with an abnormal EKG, it is recommended you seek immediate medical care. Take any and all prescribed medication as directed by your physician and try to lead a healthy lifestyle. Avoid smoking or engaging in any other activity that may be dangerous to your health.
What Is The Long-Term Outlook For Someone With An Abnormal EKG?
The outlook is good for most people with an abnormal EKG if the condition is diagnosed at an early stage and the patient receives treatment. It is important you see a medical doctor right away if you experience any of the symptoms listed above.
NOTE: As mentioned above, other conditions can cause similar symptoms and if not treated immediately, may become more serious and even fatal. If you have any concerns about your condition, it is important that you see a physician right away.
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Sources & references used in this article:
Insulin resistance and abnormal electrocardiograms in patients with high blood pressure by WHH Sheu, CY Jeng, SM Shieh… – American journal of …, 1992 – academic.oup.com
Abnormal EKG stress test in rats with type 1 diabetes is deterred with low-intensity exercise programme by IV Smirnova, N Kibiryeva, E Vidoni, R Bunag… – Acta …, 2006 – Springer
Detection of abnormal electrocardiograms using a neural network approach by JY Cheung, SS Hull – Images of the Twenty-First Century …, 1989 – ieeexplore.ieee.org