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Methods For Checking Your Heart


There are many ways for examining the heart. Here is the guide which will tells you how it works and the risk involved for each individual method

EKG Or Electrocardiogram

Ten electrodes are stuck with adhesive pads to the skin of the patient chest, arms and legs. Men may need to shave chest hair to allow a better connection. The computer creates a picture, on graph paper, of the electrical impulses traveling through the heart, either at rest or while moving. The risks involve is none.

2D Echo Or Echocardiogram

The patients will be made to lie down and a gel will be applied on the chest area. The machine will then be pressed to the chest and moved around to capture the movement of the heart muscle. The risks involve is none.

Nuclear Perfusion Scan/Stress Thallium Exercise Test

In this test, a radioactive dye, usually thallium, is injected into a vein in the arm. The heart is then imaged both at rest and after exercise to get detailed information about the flow of blood to the heart muscle. The thallium travels through the bloodstream, reaching the coronary arteries and then the cells of the heart muscle. A camera detects the distribution of thallium in the heart muscle. Regions that show less thallium have a loss of perfusion, or blood flow. Minimal risk of feeling dizzy during exercise portion of the test or adverse reaction to the thallium. There is some radiation exposure.

Coronary Angiogram

A cardiologist inserts a tube through an artery in the groin and snakes it up to the heart. A special dye is then injected through the tube and shows up the arteries under X-ray. Blocked portions of the arteries then become clearly visible. This is an invasive procedure and carries the risk of torn artery walls and even death. The patient has to lie still for four to six hours after the test to make sure that the blood vessel in the groin heals, to prevent bleeding.

MRI Or Magnetic Resonance Imaging

The MRI scanner unit is a long tube that scans the body as the patient lies on a platform bed. Electrodes are placed on the chest to measure electric impulses of the heart. An intravenous (IV) line will be inserted into a vein in the patient's arm to inject a non-iodine-base dye. The dye highlights the heart's chambers and major vessels. MRI creates move-like images of the beating heart that doctors can use to diagnose a variety of cardiovascular problems. An undetected metal implant may be affected by the strong magnetic field. Also possible allergic reaction to dye.

Typical Heart-Attack Symptoms

  • Tightness in the centre of the chest, pressure or pain.
  • Pain that radiates to the arm, shoulder, jaw and neck.
  • Sweating, nausea, vomiting.
  • Breathlessness.

Subtle Or Atypical Symptoms

  • Unexplained weakness or fatigue.
  • Anxiety or nervousness.
  • Indigestion
  • Discomfort between breasts or beneath breastbone.
  • Ache in the upper back, radiating towards neck.

What To Do If You Think You Are Having A Heart Attack

  • Call an ambulance or go to the nearest hospital. Do not delay. Treatment is most effective if given within one to two hours of an attack.
  • Chew an aspirin tablet if available as it can prevent further clots from forming. It gets into the bloodstream more effectively when chewed rather than when swallowed whole.
 

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