View Full Version : Is an ECG enough?

25-09-07, 11:45
Hope you're all well. I just have a quick question. Is an ECG enough to tell if there's a problem with your heart or not. I get a strange pressure in my chest, uncomfortable feelings in chest, some ectopics (I hope that's what they are), irregular heart beats which feel different to ectopics etc.. I know these are all mentioned symptoms of anxiety, but I often get these with the absense of anxiety, especially the irregular heart beat which I can usually bring on by choice.

I had a couple of blood tests and an ECG, 2 doctors both said I was fine, but I couldn't feel any more to the contrary. I wasn't getting symptoms when I had the ECG.

Thanks for any help or advice in advance. :)

miss motown
25-09-07, 12:47
hi i just want to say i no how you feel for years ive had this problem with heart flutters chest pain pressure on the chest etc etc i was rushed to a&e not so long back with an expected heart attack the experiance of that has totally knocked me in to such a state im so frightened to take up any sort of exersise which will make my heart race ill never forget that as long as i live i had ecg after ecg i was kept in hospital over night as my first ecg showed some eregular heart beats i was kept on this right thru the night and was told in the morning i was fine and it was just anxiety i think we can get areselves in such a state and no matter wot were told we can not except it im sorry to go on but ive had so many ecg,s and they say its fine so the answer to your question is yes an ecg can tell u everthink and if they say its fine then it will be take care xx

25-09-07, 14:20
6 weeks ago when I had my full blown panic attack - palpitations, sweats, dizziness, heart racing etc (and taken from work by ambulance to A&E) I had an ECG - it was clear, they like to make sure there is no underlying problem so it is a method used to see you are in generally good health (your heart anyway)

The bloke at A&E that done mone said "your heart is racing a bit and your pulse is racing but I would expect that from a panic attack - the ECG shows no imbalance and you are fine. Your oxygen levels are also 98% so that is very good"

We just work ourselves up something is wrong. Nothing is wrong, believe me. The doctor made me laugh when he said "If I felt you were in danger I would be moving a lot faster than I am now"

26-09-07, 00:08

All my anxiety is related to my chest/heart. I get the lightheadedness too but the heart is my focus.
I get all those symptoms that you mention. I have been for the last 4 months. A constant pressure in the left side of my chest is the main one. Also a heightened awareness of my heartbeat particularly in my abdomen.
I too have been afraid to do any vigorous exercise until recently.
I have had 2 ECG's, blood tests and a chest x-ray and everything came back as fine. I still couldn't except this was just anxiety even though the symptoms are classic anxiety symptoms.
I suffered with this about 3 or 4 years ago too and then I decided to go private to a cardiologist who done an echocardiogram and a stress test which came back fine. I decided to pay to see him again two weeks ago expecting him to send me for those same tests. I told him the tests I had already had. He gave me a good examination and siad no need for further test everything ok. Thinks the pressure is muscular/skeletal. Suspected I may be suffering with something called SVT occasionally which is when your heart starts beating quick when resting.
Since then I have thought to myself every doctor I have seen has said I am ok and it's anxiety related. Why do I question their diagnosis when they are qualified and see people with heart conditions I'd imagine quite frequently and can spot the tell tale signs.
I still get the symptoms and am fearful but I have decided to try my best to get on with exercising and doing what I used to enjoy like play football, jogging etc.
This is easy for me to say I know because I have the same doubts and worries as you.
You're ECG and blood test being good is reasuring that you have no damage to your heart. If two doctors have said you're experiencing anxiety and you have told them your symptoms then that is even more reasurance because it would be negligent of them to not send you for further tests if they where in any doubt.

Just out of curiosity have you read Claire Weekes Self Help For Your Nerves? It's a great little book. Written in the 60's I believe but probably the best anxiety self help book I have read when it comes to explaining a lot of the symtoms of anxiety. All the symptoms you have are explained in it.

Sorry for the ramble but I just wanted to let you know that I know exactly where you're coming from.

Hope you feel better soon,


27-09-07, 00:46
i go through phases when i'm terrified there's something wrong with my heart (pressure, chest pain, weird heartbeats) but have had 2 ecgs having gone to a&e and have both come back fine.

you say you're worried because it seems to happen even when you're not anxious, but we don't realise that when we suffer with anxiety it can be there all the time, even sub-consciously. when i'm busy i'm absolutely fine, then when suddenly i have nothing to do i become aware of my heart. i might not feel anxious, but by suddenly becoming unoccupied i always become more aware of everything.

to me it sounds like classic anxiety. the doctor would have noticed if something was wrong with your heart. your symptoms are probably worse because you're anxiety is getting worse. find a way to occupy yourself and learn to relax and switch off and i bet the symptoms will improve.

take care x

Elly 2
27-09-07, 09:53
Hi, I am going through the same as you at the moment. I have been to A & E 5 times now, had numerous ECG & Bloods, saw a cardiologist who did treadmill test all of which were absolutely normal. I get 2 kinds of chest pain, one which is central and excruciating, the other across the top part of my chest which is sometimes a dull ache and others feels like a tight band, also get pain in my back between shoulder blades and down arms. All the Docs have told me it isn't heart and I asked how they knew. The ECG shows how the chambers of the heart are working ie that they are getting enough blood. If you had a heart problem that decreased the amount of blood to the heart muscle the ECG will detect it even if it happened years ago. That is how the doc explained it to me and it makes a lot of sense. I do know how you feel though because when the pain is bad we can't help doubting them. I am now being investigated for any stomach problems which might be causing the chest pain, am off for an endoscopy (camera down throat to stomach) next week, I am in a right old state absolutely terrified cos they don't knock you out for the procedure! Anyway I hope this has helped you understand ECG a bit better. Good luck and stay well x

27-09-07, 23:41
Hi I was admitted into hospital with same symptoms, I could not believe it was anxiety and was sure i was having serious heart problems, I had an ecg and due to very fast heart, then had a 24 hour ecg a few weeks later.
This all showed up rapid heart and was due to anxiety as it was beating regularly etc
The 24hour tape convinced me things were OK more than the ecg, although I have had to consult doctor since with same problem. I have accepted it is oK and I will live!!!

01-10-07, 18:44
Thank you all for your replies. I just wanted to add that I get chest pain too. It really is confusing about what to do, people tell you one thing and you tell yourself another, even that's not black and white.

I have read Claire's Weekes Self Help For Your Nerves book Neil. It's a great book! I try to put to practice what I read in their on and off. I don't have complete confidence it's all anxiety though, which sends me to extremes.

I'm planning to go to the doctors again in the near future, after I've gone on the last anxiety course, so it does actually look like I'm trying (which I am). I can't help feeling I'm going to be another young one to drop dead, so I just want to get it sorted, but it feels impossible.


02-10-07, 03:21
HI, I know exactly what you mean. I am new to this forum but just wanted to let you know I suffer the exact same way. I have the funny heartbeats etc and sometimes at night they start and just seem to get worse. I've had ECG's and 24 hour monitors and been told that everything is fine but still the fear is there. I started with them years ago and i'm still here so presumably we should try and believe what our doctors say, hard i know though.

I have read the Claire Weekes books and found them to be very very good.

Take care, you're not alone

Ma Larkin
02-10-07, 16:16
I went for an ECG yesterday. I ws diagnosed with an underactive thyroid last Monday and my GP booked me in at the Cardiorspiratory Unit (I have been suffering from high blood pressure for about 18 months now). I now have to wait 5 days for a report to be sent to my GP which apparently is an assessment for coronary heart disease. I have had ECG's in the past related to PA's but all came back fine, so fingers crossed with this one as well.


04-10-07, 14:23
Thanks for the comment Tracy!

Best wishes Les! I should imagine that it's causing extra stress at the moment. Let us know how you get on.

05-10-07, 03:00
You're welcome hun!

Take Care

08-10-07, 09:27
ive had panic attacks for about 5 years. at first i got the chest pain but took it as one of the symptoms of the attack so i dealt with them. over the last 6 months however, i have started to have central and left chest pain, for no apparent reason-sitting reading or watching tv for example. when i get these pains, which are usually quite painful and completely terrifying, i go into panic mode. i have been for 2 ECG's, chest xrays and blood tests...all of which came back fine. in answer to your question...i don't have one. no matter how many time the doctors tell me that the chest pains are stress related, i still need assurance and have started to not believe them. i'm even seriously considering changing doctors as i don't want to know what it ISNT, i want to know what it IS. i'm sorry i can't re-assure you anymore...just wanted to let you know your not on your own and i know how awful being like this is

08-10-07, 17:36
Hi lwilliams! It's really scary and frustrating isn't it. You hear all kinds of horror stories and you know deep down that it's just as likely to happen to you as anyone else. You just want to know what is causing these horrible symptoms and sensations and no one can give you answers either way with any certainty, it makes you want to scream.

Keep us updated with how you do.


04-04-09, 15:24
So an ECG is enough, right?

09-06-09, 19:53
I had 2 ECGs, one in A&E and the other at the docs at my insistance. The docs one showed up one dip, I wasnt on it long enough for the others to show ! When that happens I feel it in my throat and lose a breath, I also get a tired feeling come over me, and ive had twinges in the middle and the top of my chest, as well as upper back dull slight pain which comes and goes.
All of the above symptoms dont happen at the same time BTW.

Doc said after listening to my heart and looking at the ECG that its fine, an xray was fine as was four differing blood tests.

Im so worried, this has gone on for 8 weeks now & previous to that I haddnt gone to docs for 2 years !

10-06-09, 00:17
I had an ECG quite soon after I started developing symptoms and while at first I felt better, the pain didn't magically go away and I worried again. I began to question what it had shown; it had only last about 5 minutes, and I wasn't feeling particularly anxious at the time, my heart wasn't racing and the chest pain wasn't there.

After that I was convinced I would need another one, maybe a stress test or a 24 hour test. I got pains at night when I was in bed and everytime I was convinced something terrible was happening. But guess what, I would sleep eventually and I woke up the next morning. I wasn't fine but I wasn't dead, I hadn't had a heart attack and I was breathing normally.

I still get pain, but if I distract myself, or don't sit and constantly think about all the "what if" scenarios it goes away. This more than anything has convinced me it is the anxiety making me think this way.

Don't be afraid to ask for another test, but remember if the ECG has said you are fine but you think you are not, really think about your chest pain, and try, as rationally as possible, to decide what action needs to be taken.

15-07-09, 18:07
I've been having those strange beats that make your breath catch in your throat on and off since the age of 14. I'm now 44 - so - although no one could have convinced me in the early days that they weren't going to kill me - now I'm able to say to myself 'well you've had 'em for 30 years - if they haven't killed you by now I guess your pretty safe'.

I still don't like them though - they feel horrible & freaky!

Di x

16-07-09, 15:59
Hello Di

I have had these horrible Eptopic beats for almost 3 years! so scary when they are bad im convinced im going to die! Its good to see that you are able to feel positive about them! I have registered here to talk to people who have them as it feels like im the only one that does!

Melissa :)

17-07-09, 19:51
Hello Di

I have had these horrible Eptopic beats for almost 3 years! so scary when they are bad im convinced im going to die! Its good to see that you are able to feel positive about them! I have registered here to talk to people who have them as it feels like im the only one that does!

Melissa :)

Hi Melissa nice to meet you :hugs:

Hope knowing that I've had them for such a long time can give you a little reasurace that you're not going to die from them. It may take a little while to feel convinced but it will come. They'll happen - and instead of panick you'll just go "oh stop it - behave yourself". :)
Wishing you well
Di x

Thunderbird 4
19-07-09, 09:08
Just some reasurance to all those reading this post.

Some 10 years back, I was feeling a bit off, with flutters in my stomach and chest, but kept on working and doing the normal things.

However, one day the futters (palpitations) were so bad I decided to pop into the local A&E, where they imediately rushed me into resuscitation room with a resting heart rate of 185 bpm..!! After administering various drugs the HR did not come down much, so as all on here was told it was sheer high anxiety. Numerous tests, and visit to cardiologist returned the same verdict.

Now and ECG will pick up a variety of problems, from those of a genetic nature...to those that have developed over years. So if all come back OK then you must rest assured and move ahead with the thought that your ticker is fine. I, as others still suffer from slight anxiety when I raise my HR, as I think it will never slow down again...but it does..!! Eptopic beats are very common, but the learch in your chest is quite alarming...however millions of people have these, some feel them....some are unaware.

With anxiety we tend to get tuned into what our body is doing, where a person not suffering from anxiety may suffer the same but just ignore it. I am affraid we have to live with the fact that we feel this way...but it will not kill you..!!

Think of sport people....motocross riders will have a HR of around, 180 - 200 bpm for the whole duration of a 45 minuite race. Rowing, and marathon running similar.

If your ECG was fine, try and relax and put this to the back of your mind (easier said than done).

Take care

16-12-09, 20:15
I had Two in one day...one at the local surgery and then later, as the symptoms were so bad, in the A&E dept. BOTH were COMPLETELY NORMAL!!!!and my heart was not making any strange noises(murmurs, snaps etc) as baffling as it seems to you and as convinced as you are tht you have a serious heart problem..Try your best to accept the opinion of qualified medical doctors..Besides..Even if they had the SLIGHTEST hint tht something sinister was going on they wouldn't let you go until they got to the bottom of it...Im just going to let time tell me tht this is nothing...like always.

16-12-09, 20:16
id like to add also tht a LOT can be gathered from an ECG if its looked at by the right sort of ppl..so yes, i think its enough...An echo would be the next step following a dodgy ECG.

27-03-10, 20:01
Ive had 6 ECG's in the last 3.5 months that were all NORMAL. I had my 6th one 2 nights ago at A&E Major Cardiac Unit when i called an ambulance as chest pains were soooo bad. I was having skipping heartbeats which ive NEVER had, so thats why i then assumed it must be my heart. I was in total agony. On gas & air on the way to hospital!! lol! Lovely stuff, havent had that since i gave birth 2 years ago!! Its amazing!! lol!! Anyway, so i got put on a CONTINUOUS ECG, i was there for 4 hours. I was having these skipping beats whilst i was hooked up to it, but they werent showing up on ECG and everything was totally NORMAL :) I also had Chest Xray which was normal too :) So i now have accepted that the severe chest pains are all down to anxiety. Funnily enough, ive felt practically fine since i found it i was ok, so what doesthat prove?! lol!! I blimmin' well HATE anxiety!!!!! grrrrrrrr!!!!!!

But yes. ECG's detect any problem with your heart. If anything shows up on an ECG then they will then further investigate with an ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram).

01-07-10, 22:07
I'm not too sure whether an ECG is enough. I've read far too many stories where a person had a normal ECG and still had a heart problem. For a majority of heart related issues I'd say it's quite reliable but there are some where further investigation is required, e.g an Echo or holter monitor.

17-08-10, 17:46
they usually only do futher investigation when the ecg is not normal! x

17-08-10, 20:50
Hello I am also new I all sorry if this is in the wrong place, but I have been suffering with a dull chest ack at the bottom of my chest which I think is related to reflux however it been there on and off for 6 months, i also get acid in my mouth from time to time. It all started after I had pains in my stomoch some 6 months ago. The symptons are getting better but some days are better than other. The intresting thing is that it is not at night but durring the day and I get a pulse in my stomach that I am not sure was there before Also I am a 6foot male weighing 12.5 stone. Can any one help?

eight days a week
19-08-10, 00:09
If anyone isn't reassured enough by an ecg insist on a holter - especially if you experience things that don't occur during an ecg. Explaining that and being persistent should get you the holter at least!

That's what I did and, due to the huge family history of heart problems, it got me an echocardiogram too. I might not have really needed either but it was a huge relief to have total reassurance that there was no danger at all :)

Can anyone help Ash out? (The post above mine.)

jaded jean
20-08-10, 17:14
I had an ecg a couple of weeks ago as I had achey chest and pain in between shoulders but I did have a bit of a chest cold and indigestion and.. had upped my meds. the trace was fine - the receptionist told me it was fine until the doctor rang me the next day saying well there are 2 lines on here did you have any chest pains?? no any shortness of breath ?? no so it was Fine . Doesnt make me feel any better tho:mad: By the way the acheyness has gone !!Doh

13-09-10, 18:43
Hi, I've had numerous ECG's all of them were normal except 1.
I had started a course of drugs and started to have breathing problems which progressively got worse over a couple of hours, I was taken to hospital and hooked up to an ECG, the ECG came back with a borderline query on it and the doctor at the hospital told me I'd probably had a small heart attack, which scared the living daylights out of me, I was rushed by blues and twos to the on call heart unit and pumped full of blood thinning drugs and morpheine, I was told that they are going to perform a cardio angiogram on me and wanted me to sign a consent form, I refused and said I had not did not believe them that I had had a heart attack, so they decided to put me on a 24 hour ECG monitor and did the 5 heart blood tests, all the tests came back fine and so was the 24 hour monitor.
I was told by the doctor ( and my GP, a consultant and 2 nurses since) that ECGs can sometimes report discrepancies that aren't there, due to stress levels, bad connectivity of the stickers they put on you etc, but the blood tests are far more accurate, I've been referred for a stress echocardiogram now, just to make sure there is no angina type problems with my heart, which I doubt, as I've had heart rates of 160 from panic attacks, without chest pain, although I have to admit the stress echo is making me panic a bit right now lol.

jo h
19-12-11, 13:45
ok this was very interesting to read and has kind of helped me knowing other people are going through this ....I have a dull ache right now in my heart area which i get almost every day ...I went to a & e last year had egg chest x ray blood etc and nothing showed up ...a few weeks ago i had an advanced health assessment at Bupa and this involved another ecg whilst on a fitness bike and resting plus blood/urine tests etc ...this also came back ok so why do i have this pain...when i came out of bupa i felt good but now i am back to thinking they must have missed something..how can i feel like this all the time if there is nothing physically wrong with me ...i just want to feel normal ..can it really be just anxiety ??? its making me so miserable and i lost my mother last month too so things really are not good here x

Does anyone know how i can get rid of this ...i will buy the book mentioned above for starters and see if that helps x



20-12-11, 23:00
Reading your post sounds so much like me down to a tee. My mother passed away about 2 years age (She was my rock).
But i am always having Chest pains and have been rushed to a&e twice this year with them ecgs have been fine both in the amberlance and then in a&e,the chest x-ray fine and the and the CPK levels fine (so both times no heart attack.

My doctors says i have alot happening around my chest ie: GERD,costochondritis and constant anxiety everyday also for some reason i always pull chest muscles easy.

But I have to say it is driving me nuts constant feeling that something has been overlooked and the constant fear that something is about to happen to my heart, I wish i could shake this off as i feel such a letdown to myself and kids, I say to myself your a 39year oldman but your a damn wimp get over it (but it does not work).
Have a stresstest ecg thursday (please let it be ok).

I hope you get over you troubles. And please do one thing that i never did was to grieve for your mother (i never did and i & my other half think that was a start for my anxiety/stress)

Take care

ok this was very interesting to read and has kind of helped me knowing other people are going through this ....I have a dull ache right now in my heart area which i get almost every day ...I went to a & e last year had egg chest x ray blood etc and nothing showed up ...a few weeks ago i had an advanced health assessment at Bupa and this involved another ecg whilst on a fitness bike and resting plus blood/urine tests etc ...this also came back ok so why do i have this pain...when i came out of bupa i felt good but now i am back to thinking they must have missed something..how can i feel like this all the time if there is nothing physically wrong with me ...i just want to feel normal ..can it really be just anxiety ??? its making me so miserable and i lost my mother last month too so things really are not good here x

Does anyone know how i can get rid of this ...i will buy the book mentioned above for starters and see if that helps x



12-08-15, 11:32
Edit - Sorry - just realised I've resuscitated a very old thread.

Hi, I stumbled upon this from a popular search engine and thought I'd add my tuppence. With anxiety you tend to get digestive problems and muscle tension as your body goes into fight or flight mode, despite the fact there may be no tangible reason for it. Obviously chest pain needs to be investigated to rule out any physical problems but it's likely to be due to the above. Muscle tension is painful, palps are scary (I'm having them now hence I'm here) and when your digestive system shuts down you get gas/wind and all sorts of other things that contribute to chest pain. I presented at my docs a few weeks ago with a resting heart rate of 130, bp was high and had a missed beat. Had to wait 3 day for an ecg - longest 3 days ever - and it was normal.
Its not the first time I've had an ecg, and like others on here I've had paramedics out before now.

What has helped me is by accident - due to a trapped nerve in my shoulder I have been prescribed a neuropathic pain killer. Not sure if I'm allowed to name it, however as a side effect it has reduced my anxiety quite a lot and therefore my health anxiety too. Coupled with a clear chest x ray and ecg and some beta blockers I think I can finally start to accept there is nothing physically wrong with me. I still have doubts though.... par for the course with anxiety.

In short - yes an ecg is sufficient to rule out heart problems. It's the first line indicator and if any abnormalities show up, or your symptoms suggest further investigation is needed, then I'm sure they will look further into it. It's extremely difficult with anxiety to accept things because your mind and your thoughts are telling you lies about your body, trying to convince you something is wrong.

I hope from everybody's experiences here you are able to find some comfort.

12-08-15, 15:10
I have just noticed that this thread was started over 8 years ago but the initial question is of course still valid. Is an ECG enough. Well in a sentence, yes it is .

Initially it can see if one is having a heart attack or not and secondly it can also show up various irregular heart rhythms though not always with every ECG.

To the best of my knowledge an ECG is still the most accurate way to know what is going on with the heart.