Typically, a patient will complain of chest pain. The doctor will likely order an EKG, also known as electrocardiogram. An electrocardiogram is a computerized test to evaluate the function of the heart at that moment.
If there is evidence of heart damage, the EKG often will show signs of prior heart damage.
In addition, the computer will often determine from its own programming whether or not the cardiac rhythm is normal or abnormal.
The problem usually arises when the doctor misinterprets the patterns shown on the EKG device. They often ignore the electronic computerized assessment, believing that they have more knowledge and experience than the computer program.
Here's what I typically hear when injured victims call my office:
"I was told everything was fine. Go home. Follow up if you need to."
Then, they cannot understand why their chest pain is getting worse. They were told it was nothing to worry about. That information can cause the patient to delay in getting prompt and timely treatment.
This often happens in patients who have heart vessels that have closed up and choke off the blood supply to the heart. When that happens, the patient will suffer a significant heart attack and kill off a good percentage of their heart muscle.
What is cardiac ischemia?
Ischemia is a lack of blood flow and oxygen. When there is some physical obstruction such as a narrowing of the arteries, that can cause a decreased blood flow to the heart as well and diminish the amount of oxygen supplied to heart as well. Failure to diagnose and treat cardiac ischemia can cause a heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, and can cause death.