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Irregular ECG, overweight. Due to spinal fusion?

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Cardiologist, Interventional
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 192 Questions
I just had an ecg as part of a physical, and it was irregular. I have a metal rod fused to my spine(spinal fusion) - could that be the cause? Other than being overweight, I have no other health issues>
Posted Sat, 14 Apr 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Raja Sekhar Varma 6 hours later

Thank you for your query.

Spinal fusion is not usually associated directly with ECG irregularities. However, some variations can occur if there is a change in the position of the heart in the chest. Also, anemia, acid reflux and birth control pills can sometimes result in ECG changes. There is also the possibility that other cardiac diseases could have independently produced the changes.

It would be helpful if you can send me the ECG to review and determine the type of irregularity. You can mail the ECG to my attention at YYYY@YYYY

I can give you a more specific answer about the ECG irregularity and its likely causes after I see the ECG.

Awaiting your reply.

With regards,
Dr RS Varma
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Irregular ECG, overweight. Due to spinal fusion? 7 hours later
I am e-mailing you the ECG report as you requested. Please let me know your thoughts.
Thank you
Answered by Dr. Raja Sekhar Varma 9 hours later
Thank you for uploading the ECG.

The ECG shows a normal sinus rhythm with a heart rate of approximately 86/minute. There is left axis deviation of the QRS axis. The PR interval, QRS duration and the QT interval are normal. There are no abnormal q waves. There is poor R wave progression in the chest leads. There is T wave inversion in the inferior leads as well as in leads V1 - V4.

With this ECG, it would be better to do a stress test in the form of a thallium scan or a dobutamine stress echo. A baseline echocardiography is also indicated.

While the changes are relatively nonspecific, it is better to investigate further and ensure that there is no ischemia or any other problem with the heart. If the stress test is negative, you can be reassured. On the other hand, if it turns out positive, you may need further tests like coronary angiogram. It is an opportunity to detect any heart disease before any damage is done.

You could also test yourself for diabetes, hypertension and abnormal cholesterol levels.

I hope this answers your query. Feel free to ask for any further clarifications.
With regards,
Dr RS Varma
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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