ECG–not always reliable

Categories :Heart Disease
Author: AS, Male 61 years

At the age of 39, I once had an ECG done at the clinic of a private practitioner Cardiologist. I was always anxious about blood pressure measurement and ECG tests with the result that whenever  such measurements were done on me, I used to develop anxiety with increase of heartbeat. I knew it was irrational but could not overcome it. Consequently, my blood pressure also increased during the test and it was recorded high.

During the above ECG test also, I developed anxiety and fear. The doctor , after seeing the ECG report asked me if I had heart disease in the past. I replied in the negative. At this, the doctor told me that my ECG report was not normal and I needed to have TMT. He made me undergo the TMT or stress test. My anxiety syndrome had increased after hearing the doctor’s statement and my TMT report also turned out to be abnormal.

The doctor strongly advised me to have a cardiac Angiography done. I tried to reason out with the doctor that I was healthy and normal in every way and the abnormal ECG and TMT reports must be due to my anxiety. But the doctor did not agree.

I then went to a medical specialist at a Government Hospital and showed my ECG report to him. I also told him about my anxiety syndrome. He asked me to take a tablet of Calmpose and a blood pressure reducing tablet that night and also the next morning at 7 am and come to him two hours thereafter. I went to the specialist at 9 am next day. He retook my ECG and during this test, I was not feeling anxiety because of the effect of drugs which I had taken on the advice of the specialist. My ECG report was found to be normal.

I have never suffered any heart problem. My conclusion is that ECG reports are not always reliable because they cannot factor the effect of anxiety of the patient during the process of test. In my case, therefore, it was an instance of false positive ECG test report.