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Watch out! You can still get a heart attack even when ECG report is normal

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This Gandhi jayanti when 41-year-old Raja Sekhar turned up before a local doctor with complaints of chest pain radiating to his neck and jaw, little did he realize that an impending heart attack was waiting for him.

With he told the local doctor about his breathing difficulty, Raja Sekhar – a civil engineer and a resident of KPHB Pragathinagar -- was advised to take Sorbitrate tab but his chest pain did not subside, prompting him to turn up to consult me two hours after the onset of pain.

Usually, the normal diagnostic test advised in such situations is an electrocardiogram (ECG), but Raja Sekhar’s case turned tricky as his test report came clean.

Though his 2d Echo report had a tinkling of the problem, it was almost normal as it did not conclusively confirm any artery block despite the fact he was exhibiting all clinical symptoms to establish such an eventuality.

 

Rare incidence

 

This is not strange as studies have shown that incidence of heart attack with normal ECG report is witnessed in 3.7% cases, according to a research report published in Journal of Clinical Cardiology way back in 1995.

In such cases, it becomes extremely tricky for the health practitioner to take a proper call or else the patient’s life would be jeopardised.

One showing classical symptoms of an impending heart attack but diagnostic reports shows otherwise is the time when one is generally advised to undergo a blood test called cardiac troponin.

However, the problem is that a cardiac troponin (also called a heart-attack blood test) may not show up heart muscle damage the first time it is done, requiring a repeat test every 2-3 hours.

It would have been loss of precious time making him undergo a troponin test as anything could have happened with the flight of seconds.

Besides there was a well-grounded suspicion in Raja Sekhar’s case as he happened to have a smoking history of over 19 long years!.

The decision had to be quick as a block in a coronary artery could result in heart attack anytime for Raja Sekhar.

This is why he was immediately made to undergo an angiogram and the result was on expected lines: He had 100% block in one of his coronary arteries.  

Without waiting any further, an angioplasty was performed on Raja Sekhar . He was discharged on 4th October.

The blockage in his artery was possibly due to stress that he might have experienced while he was taking his failed bike on a walk, looking for a mechanic’s shop on October 2.


Latest research:

In cases like Raja Sekhar’s, there is now a new fool-proof blood test that can accurately detect if a patient has suffered a heart attack. It has been recently devised by researchers from King's College London.

Known as cMyC test (cardiac myosin-binding protein C), the researchers claimed that it is better than troponin test in ruling out heart attack in 15-30 minutes without making them undergo repeat test.

However, the test is still said to be still in research stage and it will be years before it is publicly rolled out for cardiac patients.


Take care

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The Pulse Heart Center
Road no: 4; KPHB colony,
Hyderabad; 500072

Phone no:
+91 - 9912 866966, 040 23054142

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