Tests and Diagnosis of Extrasystole
When conducting medical tests it is necessary to find the causes that have led to the development of premature contractions because treatment of the extrasystole accompanied with organic lesions of the heart differs from that of functional pathologies.
Doctor surveys a patient and clarifies the circumstances when the disturbances appear (rest, physical activity, and emotional stress), frequency of the attacks and effects of the used medications. Particular attention is paid to the past medical history and disorders leading to any organic lesions of the heart.
Methods of extrasystole diagnosis include:
- Electrocardiography (ECG) – it is the main objective method to detect premature heartbeats. ECG examination helps evaluate the automatism, conduction, excitability, repolarization and depolarization of the myocardium in general and of its certain parts;
- Holter monitoring – it allows 24-48 hours of ECG recording. This method is indicated in all patients with cardiovascular disorders, even if the results of the standard ECG test show no signs of extrasystole and patient’s complaints do not suggest any cardiac arrhythmia;
- Bicycle ergometry – it helps detect extrasystole not registered with the help of ECG and Holter monitoring. Due to this procedure, it is possible to detect rhythm disturbances that emerge during physical activity.
Additional diagnostic means of the organic by nature cardiovascular disorders are:
- Complete blood count – to determine the concentration of red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells;
- Thyroid hormones blood test – to check the levels of TSH, free T4, free T3, and antithyroid peroxidase antibodies;
- Blood electrolyte levels – to check the content of potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium in blood, as they are essential for the normal functioning of the heart;
- Ultrasound of the heart – with the help of this method it is possible to detect myocardial pathology and determine the condition of the heart valve apparatus.
Next chapter: Extrasystole treatment and prevention