Cardiac care has been transformed drastically over the past decade with the onset of new and improved treatment methods and has considerably enhanced survival rates. With the current pandemic, the evolution of digital technology has brought patients closer to home.People with chronic heart problems are making the best use of these technologies. This is particularly during the outbreak of the pandemic situation, as people with cardiac concern are at increased risk for various co-morbidities due to decreased immunity and enhanced public health concerns like the COVID-19.
Although there are innumerable advancements in healthcare devices, ECG remained relevant in diagnosing cardiology-related health issues at the earliest and remained crucial in offering important clues for cardiologists to detect and treat cardiovascular cases at an early stage.
According to the centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) records, around 659,000 deaths occur every year in the United States alone due to heart diseases and one out of every fourth is dying out of the heart disease. This is a worrisome factor that needs immediate action to improve the survival rates. Survival rates can increase with early diagnosis and immediate medical attention.
Monitoring and Preventing Disease:
The wearable hands-free, portable medical devices and apps available today have brought about a huge potential to cardiac care. The cutting edge technology has progressed and the benefits of these wearable devices include monitoring heart rates, blood pressure, and abnormal cardiac rhythm disturbances.
Medical devices and Smart Medical devices help patients to cut costs, manage and improve their health; hence, individuals with cardiac concerns can reduce the risk of heart disease by eating a healthy diet and practicing regular exercise for a healthy lifestyle. Technology has played a major role in preventing diabetes which is one of the key factors for the risk of heart disease. Thus medical awareness has brought about healthy lifestyle modifications
The current healthcare sector is evolving extensively and there have been many innovations in the field of cardiac care, a proper treatment plan made for each patient could include medications, a stent, surgery, or lifestyle choices like proper diet and regular exercise.
How does ECG help in providing basic cardiac care?
An electrocardiogram, or ECG, examines your heart rate, rhythm, and electrical activity.
An electrocardiogram is one of the simplest and fastest tests used to evaluate and assess the proper functioning of your heart. ECG is used to analyze the heart rate, heart rhythm, or the normal sinus rhythm (NSR) which determines how healthy your heart is, and electrical activity.
Small, plastic patches called electrodes are placed at specific areas locating the chest, arm, and legs. They are then connected to the ECG machine, where the heart’s electrical signals are turned into wavy lines that are measured, interpreted,from a graphical form that emerges out of the machine. The procedure does not send electricity into the body. These test results are reviewed by the doctor or the cardiologist.
Why is an electrocardiogram needed?
The reason for your doctor recommending you to undergo an electrocardiogram (ECG) when you are complaining of chest pain is to identify the cause of chest pain. Cardiologist will be evaluating you for clinical problems that may be heart-related, such as extreme tiredness, fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations, dizziness, or fainting. The test will be performed to identify irregular heartbeats.
Doctors prescribe an ECG test to determine the overall heart’s health condition before any surgical procedures or after treatment for health conditions such as a heart attack, endocarditis; the infection or inflammation of one or more of the heart valves; or for further treatment post-heart surgery or cardiac catheterization.
An ECG will also be used to check the working of an implanted cardiac pacemaker .to determine the working of the heart medications taken, and o check the heart's function during a physical examination. The reports obtained will be used to compare with changes in future ECGs.
What are the risks of an electrocardiogram?
The risks associated with ECG are negligible and rare.
Some slight discomfort when the sticky electrodes are removed. Skin irritation or tissue breakdown may occur if the electrode patches are placed for a longer time.
It is however imperative to discuss your past and present medical and surgical history with your doctor to avoid risks associated with your specific health condition.
Certain factors that could affect the results of the ECG include:
• Ascites fluid buildup in the abdomen.
• Factors such as the size of the chest and the heart’s location within the chest.
• Movement during the test.
• Exercise, smoking, or drinking before the ECG.
• Specific medications.
• Electrolyte imbalances, such as too much or too little content of sodium, potassium, magnesium, or calcium in the blood.
An ECG test identifies the below-mentioned concerns to alert you in advance:
● Measures if there is any damage to the heart.
●It determines irregular heartbeats, or arrhythmia, and the effects of drugs or implants within the cardiac system, such as pacemakers used to control the heart. ECG also examines heart chambers, position and size of the heart.
●An ECG is often the first procedure done to determine whether a person has heart disease and is also the first step towards providing cardiac care.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe an ECG
● When you complain having chest pain or palpitations.
● If you are scheduled for any surgery, be it a minor or major surgery.
● If you have past history of heart diseases.
● Have a strong family history of heart disease that will further increase your risk of developing heart disease.
● If the patient is detected with congenital cardiac/heart related issues.
Normal ECG test results include:
Heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute at rest in adults.
Consistent and even heart rhythm:
Abnormal ECG test results indicate:
● Damage, weakened or changes to the cardiac muscles.
● Abnormal electrolytes changes such as potassium, sodium, and calcium in the blood. High sodium content raises blood pressure, leading to heart disease and stroke.
● Congenital heart defect related to the heart’s structure.
● Cardiomegaly or enlarged heart.
● Pericardial effusion or Fluid or swelling built up in the sac around the heart.
● Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis)
● Myocardial infarction (MI) or past or current heart attack.
● Poor blood flow or blood supply to the heart arteries.
● Arrhythmias or normal heart rhythms.
Some heart problems lead to significant changes on an ECG test. They include,
Atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter is a condition that displays an irregular or often rapid heart rate.
Mitral valve regurgitation or mitral regurgitation is the condition that occurs when the heart's mitral valve does not close tightly, as a result of the backflow of the blood caused.
A heart attack is a medical emergency. This happens when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the heart. When the heart does not get enough blood, the heart muscle loses oxygen and dies.
An ECG test can also detect other heart conditions such as heart failure, multifocal atrial tachycardia, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, sick sinus syndrome, and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
What happens after an electrocardiogram?
On your doctor’s recommendations, you should be able to go back to your routine activities and normal diet intake.
Although, there is no specific care plan after an electrocardiogram is performed, patients must pay attention to the below-mentioned developments;
ECG as a diagnostic devise plays an instrumental role in detecting cardiac defects at an early stage, essential to prevent advanced cardiac risks, which may end in death. ECG is sheds light on the entire heart environment and its surroundings, essential for the cardiologist assess the health and gravity of the medical conditions, despite wide spread advancements in cardiac care, ECG remains relevant in providing primary cardiac care and behind.s