According to researchers, routine diagnostic tests on potential cardiac problems are highly unreliable in women who have undergone breast enlargement surgery. That means such women are at a higher risk of a heart attack since the devices used in the procedure impede detection of heart problems.
When a patient suffers a suspected heart attack, she is taken through electrocardiogram (ECG) test. The test produces electrodes that assess the rhythm of the heart and its electrical activities. The right treatment is determined In case any abnormalities are detected.
A more recent study presented at the Vienna Heart Conference revealed that women who have breast implants tend to have far less accurate readings. Their readings increase their chances of misdiagnosis when it comes to symptoms related to heart attacks.
• Approximately 25,000 Women in the UK Undergo Breast Implants Every Year
According to the lead author and surgeon at Breast Implants Perth, breast implants make it difficult for cardiologists to detect this heart condition through echocardiography. This difficulty is because ultrasound cannot move past the implants and now the cardiologists wanted to investigate whether the implants affect an ECG as well.
To confirm their suspicions, the researchers assessed 28 women with breast implants and 20 others of the same age but with no implants. The 48 women were healthy and had no known structural heart disease. ECGs were done on the women and recordings analyzed by two qualified electrophysiologists.
The results showed that 38% and 57% of the tests done on women with implants were abnormal. This was despite the fact that other tests had shown that all the women were perfectly healthy. According to Bun, the ECG recording was altered by the implants hence the false readings. The researchers suggested that the implants could be blocking the electrical signal or perhaps directing them to other positions hence the false readings.
• Women with Breast Implants should inform their Doctors before having an ECG
Bun noted that doctors should know about the presence of breast implants because they can cause misleading interpretation of an ECG. This kind of information would prompt the doctor to conduct a blood test in case of doubts about the diagnosis he made.
Bun also advised women to go through an ECG before having breast implants. This advice is not to frighten patients, but rather, it is a precautionary measure. It also helps doctors develop a file for comparison purposes in case the patient plans to have an ECG test in future.
According to Dr. Mike Knapton, an Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, ECGs are mainly used to diagnose the possibility of heart problems in patients. Therefore, it is critical that the results be interpreted correctly in order to make an accurate diagnosis. Doing so would help doctors treat the condition in the right way.
Although it is not the only method that can be used to diagnose heart problems, there are a large number of women who have undergone breast implants either from breast cancer or as a cosmetic procedure. Whichever the reason, these findings will keep doctors from misinterpreting ECG readings and prescribing unnecessary treatment or follow-up test because they will exercise additional caution when conducting such tests.