Wednesday, May 10, 2006

ECG Panic

On the advice on a previous MDS competitor who's friend failed his ECG 3 weeks before he was due to go to the desert, I decided that I would get one done.

Although a little aprehensive about it, I was more or less convinced this would just be a 'tick in the box'. First trick was explaining to the doctors surgery that I didn't need an appointment, I just wanted an ECG. Took a few minutes, but I finally convinced them when I told them it was run for charity, not that I've decided which one yet!

I went along to the local surgery, and had the ECG taken by a nurse. It was very quick, only took 1 minute, once all of the sticky pads were attached. I was really nervous, and was trying to keep my heart rate down. My heart rate was 56, which was alright for the middle of the day.

Anyway, it produced some strange results. She fiddled with with a couple of the chest pads, and then ran the test again.....and then again.

She then said " It normally it just comes back with 'Normal' or 'Abnormal' ". Your's says things I've never seen before, you'd better see the doctor...

At this point PANIC sets in. I get an appointment 2 days later and go and see my GP.

He was a little puzzled and was trying to find out why I'd been referred for an ECG. So, I explained what I was doing again. He took a look at the ECG at said, it might be normal but admitted he wasn't sure. He said that I becuase I am quite slim, it can skew the ECG results. He went on the say that Americans used to have a yearly ECG, until they got so many consultant referrals that led to invasive procedures, sometimes they caused more problems than they found. You'd need to see a cardiologist to be absolutely certain.

I said "If I come to you a month before the Marathon Des Sables, will you sign my ECG to say I'm ok to run?"

"No", he said.

"Ok, so I need to book an appointment with a cardiologist then", I said.

He inferred that I would have a long wait on the NHS, and so if I wanted to see one anytime soon then I would have to go private. He arranged for a letter to be drafted to a consultant cardiologist.

I booked an appointment at the local BUPA hoospital on Monday, for today. Amazing how the waiting list shrinks to 2 days when you take your wallet out isn't it?

I took along the letter from my GP to the consultant. Very nice and helpful guy. He read the letter, almost only glanced at the ECG and said "First thing to say is that your ECG is fine. It's showing an increase in electrical activity because of the training that you have done, and maybe also your bodyframe size. Anyway, the ECG is normal."

He put me up on the table and listened to my heart from every conceivable angle, and took my bloood pressure. I didn't ask what it was, but it was 110/68 the other day, which is good apparently.

He confirmed everything was fine, and bid me farewell.

So panic over. Not had the bill yet, but they said when I booked it would be between £120 and £140.

Oh well, at least I know I can go hard at the training now without the worry of an abnormal ECG.

On with the training...

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