Common Tests Florida Physicians Use in Diagnosing Heart Attack
When you arrive at the emergency room with classic signs of a heart attack, it’s pretty obvious that health care providers should conduct certain tests to determine a proper diagnosis. There are two general categories of exams for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) according to the American Heart Association:
- Non-invasive, such as external imaging and screenings; and
- Invasive, often through blood tests.
Unfortunately, not all physicians will conduct these tests. Some assume that symptoms are the result of indigestion or other minor medical conditions. Not all patients will experience chest pain or shortness of breath, so they’re sent home from the hospital or Emergency Room (ER) – where they later sustain a massive heart attack.
You should discuss your situation with a Miami medical misdiagnosis attorney, especially if you have concerns that your doctor did NOT perform the following assessments or exams for heart attack:
Physical Assessment: There are many common physical signs of heart attack that you’ll note yourself, so your doctor should certainly be able to provide a proper diagnosis. They include:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Pain radiating outwards from the chest and down the arm
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain in the jaw
If you’re not experiencing chest pain, being able to diagnose AMI from the remaining physical symptoms are especially critical.
Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG): This is a non-invasive test that involves placing electrodes on the skin to measure the electrical activity within the heart. The EKG or ECG can reveal that you’re experiencing a heart attack, but it can also be used to identify the risks of AMI well in advance.
Creatine Phosphokinase (CPK) and Other Blood Tests: The CPK is used to measure the amount creatine kinase (CK) in your blood. Your muscles need CK to work, so the levels will rise when you’re engaged in strenuous physical activity; the enzyme may also be present in higher ratios when you’re on certain medications or supplements. However, CK can also increase due to stress or injury to the heart or in the aftermath of a heart attack, which is why a physician should conduct blood tests to make a proper diagnosis.
Echocardiography (or Echocardiogram): Sometimes called an “echo” for short, this exam is an ultrasound that shows health care providers a 3D image of the heart. It can detect movement of the heart valves and chambers, which will be abnormal when you’re experiencing an AMI. The echo is another non-invasive test, where the doctor will use a wand on your chest and glide it to obtain images.
Cardiac Catheterization: This invasive test for heart attack involves a long tube, which is inserted into a blood vessel in your groin or arm – and then threaded through the arterial network to reach your heart. A cardiac catheterization may be used to diagnose AMI, but it’s also a tool for remedying other ailments associated with heart disease.
Trust a Miami Medical Malpractice Lawyer to Protect Your Interests
To learn more about your legal options after a misdiagnosed heart attack, please contact the Miami misdiagnosis attorneys at Freidin Brown, P.A. today. We can set up a no-cost case evaluation at our offices in Miami or Fort Myers. One of our experienced misdiagnosis attorneys can explain your rights in more detail after reviewing the details of your case.