ECG can be normal in acute heart attack

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INVC,,

New Delhi:

Chest pain which can be pinpointed by a finger or lasts less than 30 seconds is not a heart pain said Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee          Dr KK Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India.

ECG might not be a diagnostic test for acute heart attack. It can be normal in the first six hours of heart attack. If a heart attack is suspected one should do serial ECGs or serial blood tests for the next 12 hours to rule out a heart attack.

The presentation of a heart attack can be atypical. A person may present with toothache, neck pain, acidity or abdominal pain. In diabetics, the heart attack may be silent with no chest pain.

If chewable aspirin is given to a victim of heart attack at the onset of chest pain, the chances of sudden death may reduce by 22%.

Most heart attack deaths occur in the early hours of the morning usually within 3 hours of getting up. Therefore early morning chest pain should not be ignored.

ECG may be unreliable in women and in patients with abnormal electrical activity of the heart. In these situations, 3 dimensional echocardiography is of help. It detects heart attack much before an ECG can diagnose it.

Any irregular heart rate whether low or high coming for the first time in life after the age of 40 should raise the alarm of an underlying impending heart attack.  A pulse rate of less than 60 or more than 100 is abnormal.

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