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What does it mean when EKGs two weeks apart have different findings?

My husband had an EKG about 2 weeks ago that came back good. He just had another one 1 day ago that came back abnormal. How is this possible and what does this mean? 

submitted by Amy from Ohio on 4/9/2013


Michael J. Mihalick, MDby Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Michael J. Mihalick, MD  

Dear Amy, The electrocardiogram tells us what is happening while it is being recorded and what may have occurred before which may have left a scar. It cannot predict the future. Many ECG abnormalities are transient and may not be recorded on every tracing. Before a 'heart attack' or myocardial infarction occurs, the ECG is usually normal. In the case of coronary artery disease, ECG changes during a treadmill stress test can represent insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle because of a narrowed coronary artery. This finding may prompt you cardiologist to perform further testing to see if important arterial narrowing is present, and will help determine the risk of a future heart attack. 

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Updated April 2013
Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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