What does a normal EKG look like versus an abnormal one from an undetected heart attack?

A normal EKG. Because some areas of the heart are electrically silent, one can have a full blown heart attack with an entirely normal ekg. When the ekg is destined to become abnormal, it often lags, not showing changes early on: hence the need for "serial ekgs" (done daily). The adage "treat the patient, not the ekg" hasn't changed over the years.
Need to see it. Silent (or misdiagnosed) heart attacks may be as common as 30-40% of all heart attacks, detected when an ECG is done that demonstrates typical or suspicious changes compared to a normal or prior ecg. Heart attacks can occur in different locations, and may not involve the entire thickness of the heart wall, so the abnormal ECG can vary quite a bit, so a simple verbal description is not possible.

Related Questions

Abnormal EKG shows old heart attack. I am only 25 with no risk factors. I am completely shocked. Did I really have one?

Multiple possibilite. Really need an old ECG to compare too or an echo of heart to see if there is any evidence of scarring or wall motion abnormality. Could be congenital or related to prior trauma. Any family risk factors? Also be aware that drugs like cocaine can cause MI in people with no risk factors. See cardiologist if you want resolution of your concerns. Read more...

How long is too llong for a cardiac follow up. I had an abnormal EKG and normal blood test after having the calssical symptoms of a heart attack. The EKG showed and enlaged left ventricle and abnormal st and t (?) and was referred to a cadioligist. I do n

The . The fact you have cardiac symptoms plus an abnormal electrocardiogram indicates to me you should not wait two months to see a cardiologist and i would recommend you see a cardiologist as soon as possible. Call your local hospital to speak to a financial counselor and tell them you need attention expeditiously. The hospital is incented to help you because they will be treating you in the event of a cardiac emergency and it is more economical for them to treat you before the emergency takes place. If you are having ongoing symptoms or distress go to the emergency room. By law they cannot refuse to treat you. And remember they are appropriately incented to treat your condition ahead of any crisis. Call or go to your hospital today. Read more...
Check with your doc. Asap no fouling around with your heart. I suppose that you want to live and you do not want to die. Read more...

ECG 12 leads: Normal sinus rhythm, Possible Left atrial enlargement, Inferior infarct, ACUTE MI / STEMI, Abnormal ECG When compared with ECG of 30-MAR-2015 ST elevation now present in Inferior leads. BUT troponins are ok. Is it heart attack?

Repeat EKG. Computer interpretation is often wrong, not surprisingly. If no chest pain and cardiac enzymes are normal-likely, it's not a heart attack. There are several other causes of ST segment elevation besides a heart attack. I would repeat EKG and have it interpret from your cardiologist. Good luck. Read more...
STEMI. In your case the troponin should matter less than your abnormal EKG. They may want to at least consider an ECHO to look at your heart in more detail. Read more...

Can you have a heart attack with a normal ekg?

For sure. You betcha! the medical adage is: treat people, not ekgs! depending on what part of the heart is involved, the ekg may entirely normal. Moreover, it is common for ekgs that are destined to become abnormal to be normal early in the course of a heart attack. Commonly we obtain daily ("serial") ekgs in suspicious circumstances looking for changes that can be subtle. Read more...

Is it normal to have a normal EKG with a heart attack?

Occurs. It happens al the time, that is why cardiac enzymes are measured in the blood. Subendocardial infarcts which are the most common, may present with normal or near normal electrocardiograms. If at the emergency room when the heart attack occurs, cardiac enzymes may still be normal. It takes 4 hours of myocardial death for troponins to begin rising. Clinical suspicion, infarct syndrome, cardiaccath. Read more...

Can a person have a heart attack, but have a normal ekg?

Yes. Ekg changes depend on the location and severity of the heart muscle damage and it's impact on the normal functioning of the heart. Read more...
Yes. Especially early in the course of a heart attack the ekg can be normal. Usually some abnormalities become present with time. A heart attack cannot be excluded based on the ekg alone. Read more...