abnormal ECG

Has anybody out there had an abnormal ECG following a healthscreen. The cardiologist wants me to have echocardiogram which I am happy with, but what I am worried about is the thallium scan (radio-active stuff pumped into you to show flood flow through heart). I can still run as I have never had any chest pain or palpatations and the cardiologist thinks that it is unlikely he will find a problem. I have run for over 20 years, quite competitively. Surely running cannot damage the heart muscle?


  • Gayleen -- actually it might not necessarily be due to the running that you have an abnormal ECG. Without knowing exactly what the abnormality is, it's difficult to say what could have caused it. ECG's are notoriously difficult to read and only those people who are trained to read them and diagnose from them should be advising you i.e. your cardiologist or Dr. Having said that, the fact that you have run for 20 years would lead me to suspect that your heart is in a far healthier condition than it would have been had you NOT been running. It is possible in some cases for lots of exercise to cause heart problems - there are lots of documented cases of young athletes who have had heart problems but usually these problems are not caused by the running itself but a predisposition due to either a previous illness (like Rheumatic Fever - rarely seen these days but very common years ago) or genetics. If I were you, if you feel well, continue running - the prime rule of listening to your body always works for me. If you feel unwell - don't ask too much of your body. Your cardiologist will explain what the problem is, if anything and what you and he can do about it - I'd doubt that stopping running will be part of that though. You should probably take things a bit easier until you know for sure what the problem is though.
  • Gayleen -- Also, an abnormal ECG does not always mean that there is a problem with the heart muscle - often there is a problem with the heart's electrical conducting system (i.e. the way the heart beats are initiated). It is very common for people who have never had any problems to have irregularities on an ECG and it doesn't always mean there is a problem. Lots of people have ECG's which are not the same as the 'normal' ECG but they function perfectly well and have no problems. Try not to worry too much - the echocardiogram is an examination of the heart muscles and structures just to make sure there aren't any problems.
  • Running may not damage your heartmuscle, but with a damaged heartmuscle you will not run as well ....(or at all). And if the cardiologist thinks he needs a thallium scan to make a proper diagnosis, I suppose that is what has to happen. The radio-activity has a short half life and doesn't carry much risks. It is not an investigation that you will get unnecessary. But who knows, he may make a diagnosis after the echocardiogram.
    I hope things turn out all right.
  • Gayleen - it's possible you have the same as me - left ventricular hypertrophy I think it was. Summat to do with the left side of the heart being bigger than normal.

    Doc was worried until he looked at my history of 15+years of cycling and then he decided that exercise had enlarged it.

    If you've been competing for 20 years, then you might be in the same boat as me ?

    Let us know what he says - but I wouldn't worry.
    (then again I try never to worry - it never helps things, and you always worry the worst scenarios which then don't happen)

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