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Can a delayed electrocardiogram put your health in jeopardy?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

If you have ever visited an emergency room, you might remember nurses screening you for a possible heart condition shortly after you walked through the doors. They even might have pulled you aside prior to admission to administer an electrocardiogram test. This test, which measures electrical signals in your heart, is a fast and pain-free way to detect many heart problems.

According to reporting from NPR, many doctors do not perform ECG screenings when patients have a low risk for heart disease. Unfortunately, though, a delayed ECG test can put your health in jeopardy in a few different ways. Here are some of them.

Heart attack

A heart attack, officially called myocardial infarction, happens when something blocks the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart. Luckily, when doctors identify heart attacks early, they are frequently treatable. Because an ECG can help doctors diagnose a heart attack, ordering the test promptly is often advisable when patients have specific symptoms.

Abnormal heart beats

For most individuals, a normal heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. If the heart beats faster or slower than this rate, a person’s overall health and even life may be at risk. As you might suspect, ECG screenings are some of the more effective ways to diagnose irregular heartbeats quickly.

Cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the heart stops working. Because cardiac arrest interrupts electrical signals from the heart, an ECG test can alert doctors to the issue. The screening even might tell physicians whether a cardiac arrest is imminent.

While doctors do not need to perform ECG screenings on every patient who enters the emergency department, delaying testing can lead to catastrophic consequences. Ultimately, if you have injuries that stem from a delayed or omitted ECG test, you might have grounds to pursue substantial financial compensation.