Medical Minute 10-13: Heart Tests: The Next Generation

By: Melissa Medalie Email
By: Melissa Medalie Email

Freddie Holmes loves the serenity of country life, but for this heart disease patient, living miles from a major hospital means a medical emergency could be deadly. Freddie found security and peace of mind by having a heart defibrillator implanted. If her heart stops, the device zaps it back into rhythm.

"If I didn't have this, something could happen, and by the time someone gets to me, I probably wouldn't be here anymore," said Freddie Holmes, Heart patient.

Freddie may have never known she needed a defibrillator had her doctor not suggested she take a T-wave test.

"Mrs. Holmes had no known heart disease but was having episodes of passing out. We decided to do a T-wave Alternans test to determine the electrical instability or stability of her heart, and that was abnormal," said Mary Olsovsky, M.D., Electrophysiologist.

The T-wave test is similar to a stress test, but it uses specialized leads that can pick up electrical changes in the heart that are one-thousand times too small to be seen on an EKG.

"T-Wave Alternans is by no means definitive, but it gives us another tool to put on that balancing scale," said Mary Olsovsky, M.D.

Freddie is grateful the test told her something everyone else missed.

"I look at myself," she says. "I have a very active lifestyle. I eat right. I exercise. I never would have dreamed in a million years that I would have a heart problem."

Taking steps to boost her odds, protect her heart, and find peace of mind.


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