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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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How accurate/good are EKGs at accessing heart problems, by themselves ?

Hi, I m 26. For more than a week now I ve been having chest pains, often it would hurt to breath, I would feel really light headed, and sometimes I would start to feel really warm and nauseous in my upper body, then after a while I d start to feel very cold and get goosebumps. I went to an InstaCare yesterday. The InstaCare doctor did an EKG on me, which lasted about one second, and said that my heart seemed fine. He gave me some solution with malox and some other stuff to drink, and came back about 5 minutes later. He asked if the pain went away and I said most of it, but some of it was still there (it was only light discomfort in the first place when I went into the InstaCare). He said that it s probably heart burn, and gave me a prescription for Prisolec (Omeprazole), and told me that I d only really need to take it for one week and then I should be good. He also gave me a list of foods to avoid and lifestyle changes for heartburn. I felt quite lightheaded after walking out of the InstaCare yesterday, and still feel quite lightheaded today, but at least the chest pains aren t very strong as they were before. Not to sound paranoid or anything, I was wondering if EKGs are pretty accurate by themselves? When they ran it at the InstaCare, it only lasted about a second. Since I m 26, I m probably okay, but sometimes you re just curious after visiting an InstaCare and they run a little test.
Thu, 17 Dec 2009
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  User's Response
To answer your question, EKG's are tracings of the electrical activity that's going through your heart at that particular instant. They will only tell your health care provider if there's an electrical conduction problem. Insta-Care Clinics, Minit-Clinics, most Urgent Care clinics are only designed to diagnose and treat minor, routine problems, not to provide diagnoses of complex problems and provide long-term treatments. You need to find a regular doctor, one who can do a full work-up to find the cause of your chest pain and other symptoms and who can provide a long-term / ongoing treatment plan. Good luck.
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