A recent study shows that breast implants could interfere with tests carried out to diagnose heart problems. Women undergo breast enlargement surgery for two major reasons: as treatment for cancer and for aesthetic purposes. These implants may however compromise the accuracy of electrocardiogram tests that are taken to diagnose various heart problems. Electrodes are used in these tests to assess the rhythm of the heart, and the implants could be a barrier to correct diagnosis. The presence of breast implants makes it hard to diagnose existing conditions, or could even lead to the diagnosis of non- existent heart problems. This makes ECG tests on such women unreliable, which could be quite dangerous for their health.
What Research Shows
Statistics show that approximately 25, 000 women in the UK get breast implants every year. This is a relatively high figure. Studies also show that during an ECG test on women with such implants, ultrasound is unable to penetrate the devices. A study was conducted on 28 women with breast implants and 20 women without the implants. All the women involved in the study were healthy and had no previous records of heart problems.
The two electrophysiologists who examined the women concluded that about 38- 57% of the scans conducted on women with implants were abnormal. Further tests revealed that all of the women actually suffered no heart problems, while the ECG scans seemed to suggest that the women with the implants might have had some problems.
What Should You Do If You Have Implants?
According to Dr. Mike Knapton of the British Heart Foundation, getting the correct diagnosis for heart attacks is incredibly important. In light of the findings of the above research, women who have breast implants should inform their doctors of this fact. This may necessitate carrying out other tests besides the ECG when diagnosing heart problems for a more accurate diagnosis. Alternatively, women who intend to undergo a breast enlargement surgery should have ECG tests carried out on them before they undergo the procedure. They should then keep a file containing those results, and this may help doctors reach a more accurate conclusion if the women ever have to undergo an ECG.
Breast implants can lead to the wrong diagnosis for heart disease. They may point to the existence of heart disease symptoms where none exist, or lead doctors to conclude that the disease does not exist when in fact it does exist. To prevent such wrong diagnosis, women with breast implants should communicate this to their doctors before they undergo an ECG for a more accurate diagnosis.