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lph
11-22-2006, 03:51 AM
Anyone taken an ectocardiogram before?

I'm scheduled for one next Thursday. It's a "stress-ECG", if that's the right term, apparently they measure the heart's electrical signals while you sit on a exercise bike and have at it.

I'm in good shape and all that, but my brother died early (age 41), and he died of *something*, so I'm just a leeeeetle bit freaked out that they'll find something funny.

And I'm a bit freaked out that they *won't* find anything too. What am I supposed to "fix" then?? :eek:

Anyway - just curious if anybody has had one and can tell what's it like.

- signed, tense (We need an emoticon that looks like the tic'y squirrel in Ice Age...)

Bron
11-22-2006, 05:01 AM
Hi lph,

Yes, I had one too a few years ago and I'll probably have to have another one sometime soon. My doctor just wanted to check that there was no problem with my low resting pulse rate (about 42).

Anyway, the way it worked was that they sat me on the bike and attached all of the ECG electrodes using little sticky pads, then I had to cycle. I think they started me on about 50 Watts output and then told me to go harder every two minutes. The whole thing lasted for about half an hour - they stopped me at around 250 Watts by which time I had dripped sweat all over the floor and was a little tired! The only disconcerting thing about it was having to cycle topless because of all of the wires being stuck to my chest, but I suppose the nurses had seen it all before. Next time I am going to take a sports bra and ask if I can wear that.

In the end they decided that I was perfectly fit.

I hope yours goes equally well.

Bron

KnottedYet
11-22-2006, 05:59 AM
I've had a resting EKG, but not the test where you're on the bike. Yet. We've got rampant heart disease in my family, suppose I get to look forward to sweating topless in front of a bunch of strangers...

(note to future self: remember Bron's mention of a sports bra:D )

CycleChic06
11-22-2006, 08:05 AM
I've had a resting EKG and ECG. Though I thought the ECG is when they do an ultrasound on your heart...which is what i had done. It was so cool. You could see everything, the valves the chambers, and from every angle. You could even see the direction of the blood flowing through it, colored in red or blue. It was so amazing to see that! I'm totally fascinated but that stuff and wasn't scared of the test, just scared of what they'd find. But being interested in it was a way to keep my mind from worrying about everything.

I kinda know what your going through lph, I just went through the same ordeal, kinda scary. They didn't find anything wrong with my heart after all these tests AND I got dropped off my doctor's radar, so I'm kinda stuck about what to do next about my symptoms. Just remember, if they do find something, it's better to know now and be able to treat it, then to not find out at all.

Take care and keep us updated.

Emily

seychelle
11-22-2006, 08:08 AM
I've had a resting EKG, but not the test where you're on the bike. Yet. We've got rampant heart disease in my family, suppose I get to look forward to sweating topless in front of a bunch of strangers...
(note to future self: remember Bron's mention of a sports bra:D )

and you won't even be making any money at it ! :D

maillotpois
11-22-2006, 08:29 AM
I think you mean echocardiogram? ("Ectocardiogram" sounds like something they'd use in Ghostbusters.)

I have had 2 since my pulmonary embolism diagnosis - both resting, not stress. I think the procedure is similar in terms of what they're looking at. It hurts a little when they jab the ultrasound device under your rib cage to get a look at your heart from the other side. (At least the Teutonic titwillow that did mine hurt....)

It's good either way - whether they find something or not, because then at least you know what's in there. If that makes sense. I'm hoping they give me another in a month or so. For me, it is helping to measure my pulmonary hypertension, caused by the blood clots in my lungs, and a decrease shows that the clots are getting smaller. Which is a good thing! It's about the best way they can measure the clots without another full body CT scan with contrast dye. Which has its own risks.

Let us know how it goes!!

lph
11-22-2006, 08:29 AM
Now that's what I call truly useful answers :)

I'll be biking down to the medical centre anyway, and now I'll be sure to wear reasonably clean shorts and a sports bra (my usual commuting clothes aren't really fit for close encounters) , and bring an lightweight Capilene top in case the sports one is too much. And a camera so I can snap photos and publish them on the 'net for money... :D

Ultrasound? Cool. I thought you couldn't see the bloodstream unless you had an angiography, and for that you have a contrast dye injected. My father had one of those, after taking an exercise ECG (EKG?) first which showed that his heart was having trouble under stress. The angiography showed that despite very mild symptoms he had 5 almost blocked arteries :eek: He had a successful bypass operation 3 weeks later.

(Hence my reason for getting an ECG even though I have no symptoms, father with symptomless heart trouble and a brother who just dropped dead.)


PS. Electrocardiogram. Electrocardiogram. Electrocardiogram. Echocardiogram is the ultrasound one. Ectocardiogram is to check for phantom pain, I guess. ;-)

SJCzar
11-22-2006, 12:07 PM
I had a stress echo last fall. My heart beats a bit unusually and makes for an abnormal looking EKG, so my family doc had me go in for one. We also have a family history of early heart disease.

Mine was on a treadmill not cycling. After they hooked me up they had me practice going from the treadmill into the bed quickly so they could get the ultrasound picture while the heart was still beating rapidly. After a few practice runs they started up the treadmill. Every 3 minutes they speeded it up again. The techs said it was fun to have someone who exercised regularly because they had to get me to a full out run before my heart rate was high enough for the ultrasound. All that cycling really does pay off. The cardiologist determined that while my heartbeat was a bit different then most people, my heart was working just great.

doc
11-22-2006, 05:01 PM
Ultrasound? Cool. I thought you couldn't see the bloodstream unless you had an angiography, and for that you have a contrast dye injected. My father had one of those, after taking an exercise ECG (EKG?) first which showed that his heart was having trouble under stress. The angiography showed that despite very mild symptoms he had 5 almost blocked arteries :eek: He had a successful bypass operation 3 weeks later.


PS. Electrocardiogram. Electrocardiogram. Electrocardiogram. Echocardiogram is the ultrasound one. Ectocardiogram is to check for phantom pain, I guess. ;-)

Correct. Contrast dye coupled with xray technology is one way to view vessels. (also contrast dye and MRI to view vessels which is actually called MRA in that case) Some vessels can be seen by ultrasound. There is something called color flow doppler which shows blood flow.
EKG and ECG are the same thing. EKG is the old term

lph
11-30-2006, 06:35 AM
Okay, had my eLECTROcardiogram ;) today...

I asked nicely if could I please have the exercise bike and not the treadmill, as I was afraid I'd just fall off... Weird experience. Very glad to have some warning from you guys, or pedalling along sweaty and topless with a bunch of wires hanging off me would have freaked me out a little. Impossible to wear even the skimpiest sport top, I would have had to have something distinctly bondage-like to miss all the wires... ;)

But everything looked normal, I pedalled my heart out, so to speak, and the dr said it looked just fine.

And re: my brother - he said that almost everybody over the age of 30 has some plaque in their blood vessels, and when younger people die it's often just plain bad luck, that a piece has come loose and got stuck somewhere else. And that smoking is the real bad biggy when it comes to heart disease, just smoking one cigarette will squinch your blood vessels together.
Unlike lung disease, where the number of cigarettes a day is important.

I am so done with seeing doctors now. Back to my regular life, thank you very much.

spokewench
11-30-2006, 08:40 AM
Glad everything tested out okay! I hope the results made you feel more comfortable about your health

Bikingmomof3
11-30-2006, 09:19 AM
I am very happy the tests came out well. :)

lph
12-04-2007, 11:05 AM
Well - since I had another ELECTROcardiogram (can't BELIEVE I wrote ectocardiogram first time round, I'm such a spelling nazi) scheduled today I did a search on TE to see if anybody had said anything about it recently. That turned up mostly my own thread, so I might as well update here...

Anyway, everything went just peachy. I asked for this check-up after just a year since in the meantime my mother has also had a small heart attack. She's doing great (basically denying it ever happened, I think...) but now I am the only one in my close family who has not had serious heart problems.

So I got the treadmill this time, instead of the bike. Got all kitted up with wires hanging all over, looking like something out of Matrix (only without Trinity's sexy outfits), "hiked" briskly up to a pulse of 180 at which point dr. said to stop. My max HR is higher (180 didn't feel like that much of an effort) but he said there were no anomalies so far and wouldn't be any with a higher HR. My blood pressure is a little low, which explains why I get dizzy quite often, but is otherwise a good thing.

I'm going to get tested for a genetic disposition to embolisms though, some kind of pre-disposition that 7% of the population have. But since I'm not on the pill and I don't smoke the dr. wasn't overly concerned.

So I think I just got told that I'm as healthy as everybody keeps telling me I am but I have trouble believing in :) Sort of on a buzz tonight... even though I didn't think I was worried I obviously feel a bit vulnerable about this, and then there's nothing like being told your health is excellent! Ok, so I'm a bit dense.

bmccasland
12-04-2007, 11:51 AM
lph - glad to hear there's scientific proof that you have a healthy heart. And a year later, it's still a happy healthy heart. :cool:

sgtiger
12-04-2007, 01:12 PM
lph - glad to hear there's scientific proof that you have a healthy heart. And a year later, it's still a happy healthy heart. :cool:

+1

[Lifts glass of sparkling cranberry juice]
Here's to your continuing health - heart and otherwise. Glad everything is working well.

Zen
12-04-2007, 01:29 PM
I have to have one yearly in order to stay on the transplant list.
I can't do a treadmill test because of my bum knee/hip/back so I have to be injected with dobutamine in order to raise my heart rate.
Even then they can't raise it very high. I have to lay on a table and do leg lifts.
It's old hat by now, nothing to be concerned about.

It is pretty cool to see the sonogram screen though.

maillotpois
12-04-2007, 02:12 PM
I'm going to get tested for a genetic disposition to embolisms though, some kind of pre-disposition that 7% of the population have. But since I'm not on the pill and I don't smoke the dr. wasn't overly concerned.


Harumph. you may be the spelling nazi, but I am the embolism nazi. follow up on that, ok? even w/no other risk factors, the genetic predisposition to clot is serious stuff.

it only takes ONE risk factor for an embolism.

lph
12-05-2007, 01:26 AM
I will, I promise! Actually, I don't have to promise 'cos the dr. was going to follow it up for me ;)

Search on the net brought up: something called the Leiden factor, which if inherited from both parents increases the risk of embolisms. 5-10 % have one set of this, 1 in 500 have it from both sides. Seems like they check every woman going on the pill now to see if they have this? I've never been on the pill and I don't think I've had the test. Simple blood test.

cheers right back at ya, with a cup of... oh - lukewarm green tea. :rolleyes:

Zen - can you do the test on a stationary bike?

maillotpois
12-05-2007, 06:50 AM
Yeah, factor V Leiden. Well, let us know how that turns out. I think that's great that they're testing everyone who goes on the pill for it. They sure as heck are not doing that here. (That wouldn't have specifically helped me, but it sure would help a lot of folks.)

Blueberry
12-05-2007, 07:02 AM
Nope - they're not doing that on the East Coast either. I've never been tested (and have been on the pill for 11 years).

CA

maillotpois
12-05-2007, 07:15 AM
Something tells me the health care system may be a little better in Norway... :rolleyes:

Blueberry
12-05-2007, 07:22 AM
Yep - I think so (steering very clear of politics). I will at least *ask* my dr. at my next exam, though.

CA

Thorn
12-05-2007, 07:40 AM
Avoiding politics and slightly thread-hijacking...health care does differ between countries and not just because of insurance or government, but because of MD training and preferences. What is considered routine testing will differ, but so does how exams are performed.

For instance, LPH notes that she used a bike for her stress test. I smiled when I read that. Eons ago when worklife was good I worked for a health care device manufacturer. Within the US, stress EKG units were almost universally treadmill; the bike was a European thing. It was rare to find the bike in the US stress testing lab (hmmm...just as it is still rare to find a lot of bikes on the streets in the US).

Ain't it grand, though, that this forum has more than one cultural variation so now ya'll can request the test while being informed enough to say, "but, in Norway it is routine"?

Zen
12-05-2007, 09:51 AM
Apparently, bikes are just too futuristic for our health care system. I've told the examiners I could do it on a bike.
Maybe this is my ticket to Norway:p