Other than congenital heart defects, which are present at birth, adults develop most heart abnormalities. Coronary artery disease, for example, along with its complications (heart failure, heart attack, arrhythmias) develops over many years. Congenital heart defects, such as a hole in the heart or a heart valve disorder, are often found and treated at birth, but your child will have to monitor and perhaps treat the condition for their entire life.
Scott Kaiser, MD
Specialty: Emergency Medicine
- emergency medicine
- family medicine
Location and Office HoursHealthcare Associates Emergency Physicians
Overland Park, KS 66210
- North Suburban Medical Center
- Research Medical Center
Do heart abnormalities affect children differently than adults?
Piedmont Heart Institute answered
How do doctors determine the cause of cardiac arrest?
Johns Hopkins Medicine answered
The warning signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest occur almost instantaneously, with little warning.
The chances of survival are reduced by seven to ten percent for every minute that passes without defibrillation, which is the process of sending an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat and reverse cardiac arrest. After ten minutes, survival is unlikely, as approximately 95 percent of cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital.
If you survive a cardiac arrest, you are likely to undergo testing to determine the cause. It is otherwise difficult to predict who may experience a cardiac arrest, particularly for persons who appear healthy. Those tests may include:
- Physical exam. Your physician will review your patient history.
- Blood tests. Cardiac enzymes, electrolytes and hormones may be measured, as well as a test for prescription and non-prescription drugs that may induce arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat.
- Exercise tests
- Electrocardiogram.An ECG or EKG records the electrical activity of the heart and shows abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias or dysrhythmias).
- Ambulatory cardiac monitoring. A Holter monitor may be used for 24 hours. Other monitors may be worn in excess of two weeks.
- Echocardiogram. An "echo&uot; uses ultrasound waves to produce a moving picture of the heart and heart valves.
- Nuclear scan. Usually performed during a stress test this type of scan studies blood flow through your bloodstream.
- Chest X-ray. An X-ray will help assess lung condition.
- A coronary angiogram. The coronary angiogram, a series of X-rays of the coronary arteries, is considered to be the most accurate way to measure the severity of coronary disease. During an angiogram, a thin, long, flexible tube called a catheter is threaded into an artery in the forearm or groin, and then moved through the circulatory system into one of the two major coronary arteries. Dye is then injected to show the flow inside the coronary arteries and to identify any areas of narrowing or blockage.
- Electrophysiological test. This test is designed to locate the point of origination for a heart arrhythmia and is usually performed after you have been diagnosed with a specific underlying cause.
What questions should I ask the doctor to understand my heart disease risk?
SecondsCount.org answeredBeing prepared in advance for your office visit can help you make sure your doctor receives all the information he or she needs. Write down notes about your medical history as well as other members of your family to take with you, if you think that may be helpful. You may also want to write down notes containing questions you have for your doctor. The questions below can help you start your list:
See all First Aid For Medical Emergencies & Conditions questions
- Does my personal and family medical history put me at greater risk for cardiovascular disease?
- Do I have risk factors for cardiovascular disease that I can change (e.g., smoking, diet, etc.)?
- How can I enroll in a smoking cessation program? (If you smoke and wish to quit.)
- What level and type of exercise is appropriate for me?
- Is there anything that I should be doing right now to improve my cardiovascular health?
- Are there any specific activities or medications I should avoid?