Sleepy Heart

When living in Austria, sometimes special health screenings would come to the office. One day, they were doing EKG’s, so I decided to get one. The nurse performing the EKG was surprised by my low heart rate (that morning, it was 43 beats per minute).  Since I had just woken up (the exam was conveniently in the same building that I lived in), she suggested my heart was still sleepy.  

That EKG provided me a chance to learn a little more about myself.  In high school, I found out that I had a heart arrhythmia.  I had no clue what that meant, as I never felt it.  As I went through many tests, the doctors had shown me my EKG and explained the physical reason why the abnormality happens, but I didn’t really understand.  In particular, I had never had the chance to examine my own EKG with the aid of the internet.

With this exam in Austria, I was given the EKG printout.  So, I started to compare it against other EKGs that I could find online.  Looking at one beat, I can see what the doctors see (even though I still can’t feel it):

EKG

my EKG

The part highlighted in cyan is called the delta wave.  It’s not present in a normal heart beat.  The big peak should pretty much go straight up and down, but mine has a small slope at the very beginning.

Don’t worry though, doctors say my heart is nice and healthy!  The arrhythmia is just part of what makes me unique.

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6 Responses to “Sleepy Heart”

  1. Ma Says:

    It’s good you found out early. Make sure you keep an eye on it from now on, Brittany.

  2. Terese Fasy Says:

    You do have an arrhythmia, I wonder if this is related? I will never forget when you had your (six) wisdom teeth removed! The surgeon said it really was evident under anesthesia and he was glad he had your history! Brit – never forget to list “heart arrhythmia” in any medical form you fill out!!

    • bfasy Says:

      The heart rate and the arrhythmia are related in the following sense: when my heart rate is slow, the arrhythmia is exaggerated, and when it is fast, the arrhythmia completely disappears.

      I always write it down. I go to a cardiologist in New Orleans in September. Maybe he’ll be able to explain better what it means to feel it … as I still have never felt it.

  3. Mom Says:

    Yes – all true! I’m glad yo always remember to list this! Dev has the same thing – but with stressed induced asthma. Can’t wait to see you next week!!! xoxo

    • bfasy Says:

      Looking forward to seeing you too!

      I thought Dev had a heart murmur? I don’t think she has the same arrhythmia as mine … mine is always present.

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