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How to read EKG and Echo results


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  • How to read EKG and Echo results

    I am always dragging my test results around from lab to doctor, reading them on the Elevator without knowing what they mean, and I would like to become educated and aware of what they all mean.

    Everytime I go for an EKG I have to have a chat with the attendant and tell them not to panic. Twice I have had them run to call 911 on me, yet I feel fine, and on my way to the doctor once I get this test done.

    I know the reading from the lead on the left side, drops right off the bottom of the page. They ask me if I am in pain, they ask themselves if the machine is working right, they run for 911 as I mentioned before.

    As for the Echo, staring at the monitor for 30 mintues as they run the test. I would like to know all those numbers, and what to look for. Even if I knew just 2 things to watch for on the screen, so I can compared each visit.

    <- How I feel when I go for my test
    <- The face of the technician when they hook me up

  • #2
    Re: How to read EKG and Echo results

    Learning EKGs and ECHOs are a science and to properly learn them takes a bit of time. Just to be a sonographer you have to go to school for two years. EKG classes are about a month.

    Just a little bit on the EKG though your heart beat starts with a little bump called a P wave. The Large peak is called the QRS complex. Then the little bump after that is the T wave. If your T wave is inverted it typically means that there is some form of ischemia going on. If you don't have a P wave (correct me here) means that Sino Atrial node is not working properly and may be the beginning of heart block. Also, many HCMers have A high QRS voltage. I guess that may be due to the stiffining of the heart or the cellular disarrayment.

    When you start getting into the different leads though that is where it gets a bit confusing!

    I hope I'm right about this! Correct me if I'm wrong!

    Mary S.


    • #3
      Re: How to read EKG and Echo results

      I have no idea how to read either, but I did find a great website that explained in detail how to read an EKG. I can't remember the website though...alot of use aren't I??? Just thought I would let you know that you could probably find info on the net.

      I am lucky I haven't had too many strange reactions to my EKG. Are all ABNORMAL EKG's(in HCMer's) basically the same or similar in there abnormalities?? Anyone know?

      It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.

      Dx in Feb/99. Obstructed. No ICD, no surgeries, no family history. 2 sons ages 14 and 6.


      • #4
        Re: How to read EKG and Echo results

        I would not recommend any patient, without training, read there own ECG. To know the key numbers in you echo and monitor them for change is much easier and has greater value to your treatment.

        Echo hints:
        Do not try to read it as the echo tech is doing it.
        Read the report over with your doctor and go over key numbers.
        *IVS-Intraventricular septal - should be under 1.2 in a 'normal' person
        *LVW- Left ventricular free wall - should be under 1.2 in a normal person
        *AV-Atrial measurment - should be around 4.0 (I am shooting this one from memory and I will have to check this one).
        *MV-mitral valve - you will be give information about the size and function of your MV.
        *gradient- a measurement of pressure in the heart- this will ONLY be on those echos when the person has "obstruction".

        These are the 'basics" - know your numbers and follow them each year.

        have a nice day
        Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
        YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

        Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
        lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
        Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
        Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
        Currently not obstructed
        Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)


        • #5
          Re: How to read EKG and Echo results

          If you search this web site, there are several "how to read an ecg/echo report" posts that have lots of details. one of them is by me and one by lisa. We should put them in the FAQ, actually.

          Mary is right (duh--she's in school for that stuff) about the waves.

          Inverted t waves and depressed s waves are common in HCM and part of what makes med techs freak out.



          • #6
            Re: How to read EKG and Echo results

            Thanks for all the replies and info.

            I will be taking a note pad and pen to my next appointment

            In the mean time, a searching I will go.