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Melanie Sulistio, M.D. Answers Questions On General Cardiology

Melanie Sulistio, M.D. Answers Questions On: General Cardiology

Should patients worry if they have an abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG)?

Abnormal ECGs can be caused by many things, many of which aren’t worrisome. One common cause is normal variations in anatomy; hearts differ in size, thickness, and tissue density.

Cardiac arrhythmias – rhythm disturbances in the heart’s electrical system – are another frequent reason for abnormal ECGs. Although some arrhythmias can be a cause for concern, many can now be treated quite successfully.

Because there are so many “abnormalities” that end up being easily treatable conditions and normal variations, patients who have had abnormal ECGs should see a cardiologist and try not to worry.

Are heart palpitations dangerous?

Heart palpitations are the feeling that your heart is racing, pounding, or skipping beats. They are very common and typically not a reason for concern. Palpitations can be caused or worsened by a number of things, including caffeine, stress, abnormal thyroid function, and cardiac arrhythmia – many of which can be successfully treated or mitigated.

Because it’s important to determine the underlying cause of palpitations, people experiencing them should seek prompt medical care, especially if they’re accompanied by dizziness, chest pain, or loss of consciousness.

Are heart murmurs a cause for concern?

Heart murmurs are abnormal heart sounds that we hear with our stethoscopes. Murmurs are very common – particularly among children and young people – and are simply a finding on a physical exam, not a diagnosis.

Heart murmurs can be caused by different things – some genetic, some acquired – most of which are completely normal and don’t require treatment. Murmurs in children often result from minor issues with the valves, the “doors” of the heart, that simply resolve themselves.

Because more serious valve issues and other underlying causes of heart murmurs may require treatment, patients diagnosed with a heart murmur should follow their doctor’s advice.

What are some typical symptoms of heart disease in women?

Women can experience the same “typical” symptoms of heart disease as men, such as chest pain and shortness of breath. But they also can have slightly different symptoms, including nausea and pain in the arms, neck, and back.

Both women and men should seek prompt medical attention for these symptoms – particularly if they occur during physical activity or are new, severe, or different.