Do I Need an Electrocardiogram or Stress Test?

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So when a patient first presents to a cardiology office we always do a electrocardiogram. Which is just a one time snap shot of what the heart looks like at that moment, from the electrocardiogram though we can gather number one is the patient having an arrhythmia or irregular heart rate right there.

We can see if the patient had an old heart attack we can see if the patient has an enlarged heart. We can see if they've had uncontrolled high blood pressure a long time but we can't predict whether when they walk out of that office they are going to have a heart attack. Based on electrocardiogram alone.

So the next step we do to look for risk of heart attacks is to have someone walk on a treadmill or exercise in some way and then take images of the heart, the and dirty stress test is just hooking you up to an electrocardiogram having a doctor or nurse take your blood pressure while you're exercising and have you walk on a treadmill and every three minutes the treadmill gets a little faster and a little steeper and then what we do is we examine the electrocardiogram while you're exercising and there are classic signs on the electrocardiogram that show us that the heart's not getting enough oxygen.