Abnormal ECG

Went to the docs this morning after being in denial over some symptoms, and ended up having an ECG which has been referred to a cardiologist. It seemed to suggest I have thickened heart muscle. Basically my symptoms started after running a really tough 15 mile cross country race. I felt fine all the way round, but sprinted for the finish. When I stopped I had a dull ache in my chest. I've had heartburn in the past and this is similar but not as sharp or painful. That was three weeks ago and I have had the ache ever since and am very aware of my heart beat. It's not palpitations as my heart isn't racing. The dull aches persists. I have done a couple of runs but don't feel right and have struggled a bit. Saying that I did run a 6 mile cross country race on Sunday as the ache had eased. I didn't push it, kept in a comfortable zone and wore my HR monitor. Now the ache is worse, hence the trip to the docs. Has anyone else had anything similar? I am waiting to hear what further test I might need and am a bit nervous to be honest. When you're told not to run I think I might keel over at any moment!


  • How long have you been running ? It could be that the heart has grown to cope with the exercise ?  I had something similar and I got the all clear. 

    Wait and see what the test comes back with eh ? I'm sure its all fine. 

  • Thanks Cougie. I've been running properly for 4 years (with one year break to have a baby) and on and off before that. I've done two marathons and a few halfs. I'm 37.

    I'll be patient, it's hard when you're on your own tempted by Dr Google!

    Pleased you got the all clear. Did you have any symptoms?
  • if you were likely to keel over, that would probably have shown on the ECG and you would have been referred urgently, (I am not an expert, just guessing), and would probably have been seeing a cardiologist within a day or two.

    so, don't worry too much, that will just make it worse, but do as you are told and don't run


  • What she said image

    I work in the NHS and for all its faults, if there is something life-threatening they do spring into action pretty quick. Delay might be frustrating and anxious, but it can also be seen as reassurance. 

    Hope it works out well for you.


  • Sorry to hear that but don't fret for now, ecgs are very hard to interpret and even the experts can get it wrong never mind your GP. If they suspect hypertrophy you may get an echo (ultrasound) of your heart done, nothing to worry about except the gel is very cold and can tickle. image

  • Thanks all, I think I have a grip now! I definitely won't run, I'm not daft and have three gorgeous kids who need me!

    I'll let you know how I get on. Soup Dragon, I have only ever had very good experiences with the NHS and to be fair the doctor gave me a lot of her time today image
  • I've had similar symptoms after collapsing in a race a few years ago, but my ECG, exercise ECG and heart scans came back clear, and they put in down to some sort of chest infection, though the whole process was very scary. Wait and see what the tests say, and at least then you will know what the situation is, and have had a general heart MOT to take you forward.

  • A GP will err on the cautious side but you should take notice.  Once a cardioligist looks at you and after they run the series of tests you will get a better picture.  I have had a heart scare and initially the GP was close to having me admitted because of my ECG, it was only that I had felt no pain that stopped them.  Once I had seen the cardiologist I got an all clear to run again and turns out after all the tests that I have an asymptomatic heart fault, which I may have had since birth.  It makes my ECG look weird but has no effect otherwise. Good luck.

  • Hiya,

    There are many reasons why an ECG should be 'abnormal' right from something as simple as poor placing of the leads.

    You're bound to be worried but try not to look at google, you'll scare yourself. Look at it this way. Most heart problems are very effectively treated these days so if there does turn out to be  a problem at least it has been caught and can be treated. Most heart problems do not stop you from exercising. The heart is a muscle and generally it does it good to do a bit of work but don't do aanything until you have a diagnosis

  • I always get dull pains in my chest in the middle towards the left side for a few days after hard runs, never thought anything of it, certainly wouldn't go to the Doctors just for that?!

    Mind you GPs are useless anyway, my dad had a heart attack, his GP told him he had a chest infection.

  • If anyone has any heart concerns go see your GP. Especially if you have a family history of heart issues. I had shortness of breath for a while, put it down to over exertion, by the time I went to see my GP I'd convinced myself it was a chest infection ............... turned out I'd had a series of heartattacks and left myself with Heart Failure (permanent damage to a part of the heart).

    I'm back on track - ran 2 half marathons this year and plenty of 5 milers and 10k's but  my pace is obviously reduced and a half marathon is the furthest safe distance for me.

  • I notice this thread started in november; any progress Suzie?

  • According to wiki, heart thickening is common in endurance athletes and is benign. Just the heart's natural response to excercise.

    It is called athletic heart syndrome. According to wiki inexperienced doctors can confuse ash with serious heart problems.
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