When a patient arrives at an emergency room complaining of symptoms associated with heart attack, doctors and other hospital staff members are trained to identify these dangerous warning signs and order specific tests that can pinpoint whether a heart attack is occurring or has occurred. Medical tests can also determine which course of emergency surgical treatment is most appropriate, and can be the difference between a patient’s life or death. When diagnostic tests to identify heart attack are not ordered in a timely fashion, patients suffer greatly – and they may have grounds for legal action on the basis of medical malpractice.
A Closer Look At Heart Testing
Medical tests for heart attack can make a tremendous difference when they are ordered and administered quickly. Today’s hospitals are often equipped to use many different diagnostic tests, including:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) - this is the first test done to diagnose a heart attack, and can be conducted while you are discussing your symptoms. The ECG records the electrical activity of your heart via electrodes attached to your skin. The heart doesn’t conduct electrical impulses normally, so by viewing the monitor or print out of your heart’s electrical impulses, the doctor can identify a heart attack.
- Cardiac enzyme tests - certain heart enzymes leak out into your blood if a heart attack has damaged the heart muscle. ER doctors can take samples of your blood to test for the presence of these enzymes.
- Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – these are both tests which collect images of your heart that can help detect heart damage. In a cardiac CT scan, an X-ray takes images of your heart and chest. In a cardiac MRI, magnetic signals are used to produce create images of your heart.
- Echocardiogram – this test uses sound waves to produce an image of your heart. Sound waves are directed at your heart from a wand-like device held on your chest that provides video images of your heart. These images can show whether an area of your heart has been damaged by a heart attack and isn't pumping normally.
- Nuclear scan - this test helps to identify problems with the blood flow to your heart. Small amounts of radioactive material are injected into your bloodstream and cameras capture the radioactive material on screen. Areas of the heart where blood flows more slowly will appear darker in the scans.
- Angiogram - this test shows if your coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked. A liquid dye is injected into the arteries of your heart, allowing the arteries to become visible on X-ray and show any blocked areas. During the test, doctors can also treat the blockages by performing an angioplasty. Angioplasty uses tiny balloons threaded through a blood vessel to widen the blockages. A mesh stent may also be placed inside the artery to hold it open more widely and prevent re-narrowing in the future.
- Exercise stress test – this is often used after a heart attack to measure how your heart responds to physical exertion. Stress tests can be conducted on a treadmill or through the administration of a drug that stimulates your heart.
These tests can save the lives of patients, but when medical professionals fail to order diagnostic tests, patients who could have been immediately treated may suffer further damage and injuries – some of which can be fatal. Doctors and other health care providers who misdiagnose heart attacks because they neglect to order the right tests are guilty of medical malpractice – and they must be held accountable. A personal injury claim of malpractice may not restore the health of a heart attack victim, but it can pay for long term medical care and make up for the wages lost during recovery.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Today
Michigan Injury Lawyers represents victims and their families who have been hurt by heart attack misdiagnosis. We work with qualified medical experts to carefully review your situation and your case to determine the most effective strategy designed with your best interests in mind. We have helped many victims in Michigan recover what was rightfully theirs. We can help you and your family too.
Call Michigan Injury Lawyers at (888) 454-0801, or contact us online for an evaluation of your claim. If there is no recovery in your case, there is no fee for our services