6 Important Abnormal ECG examples and Causes

6 Important Abnormal ECG examples and Causes

You may already be knowing what a normal ECG looks like but today let’s have a look at some abnormal ECG examples. A painless test called an ECG (electrocardiogram) measures and captures the electrical activity of your heart when it is at rest.

It gives you information about your heart’s rhythm and rate and reveals whether your heart has enlarged due to excessive blood pressure or whether there is proof of a past heart attack. In this article, we will be discussing about an abnormal ECG and will also look at abnormal ECG examples.

What is an abnormal ECG?

This non-invasive test can assess various factors, including the heart’s electrical conductivity and how quickly it beats.

The meaning of an abnormal ECG is varied. There are situations when an ECG abnormality is a healthy variation in the heart’s rhythm. A medical situation, such as a myocardial infarction (heart attack) or a risky arrhythmia, may also be indicated by an abnormal ECG. An undiagnosed heart problem or an adverse drug reaction could both be to blame for an abnormal ECG.

A doctor or other medical practitioner who has received training in reading ECGs can interpret the results and recommend the best course of treatment once they’ve determined the underlying issue.

It does not indicate the presence of asymptomatic blockages in your heart arteries or estimates your chance of having a heart attack in the future. So what are some abnormal ECG examples?

What is ECG used for?

An ECG is required if you exhibit signs of heart illness or have risk factors for an enlarged heart.

The test is not helpful in routine physicals for persons who do not have heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure or symptoms like chest pain. An ECG is often performed as part of routine examinations in persons with neither risk indicators nor symptoms. It is non-invasive and safe to use.

Check out the crucial role of Cardiac Tamponade ECG nowadays.

If the results of your ECG are normal, your doctor will probably go through them with you.

However, if it exhibits symptoms of major health issues, your doctor will get in touch with you at once.

Your doctor can tell from an ECG if:

  • Your heartbeat is abnormal, too rapid, or too sluggish.
  • Either you are currently experiencing a heart attack or have recently experienced one.
  • You suffer from cardiac problems, such as an enlarged heart, poor blood flow, or congenital disabilities.
  • Your heart’s valves are malfunctioning.
  • You suffer from coronary artery disease or clogged arteries.
  • Your doctor will use the results of your ECG to decide whether any drugs or treatments can help your heart.

What does an Abnormal ECG mean?

An abnormal ECG indicates that the reading contains an unexpected element. This does not necessarily mean that your heart is unhealthy, though.

It might indicate various problems because it tracks many distinct facets of the heart’s operation. These consist of the following:

  1. Abnormal heart rate: Any anomalies in a person’s heart rate will be detected by an ECG.The average heartbeat of a human is 60 to 100 beats per minute. Any heartbeat that differs from this could signify a deeper problem. To determine the root of the problem, a doctor will want to perform additional testing.
  2. Defects or abnormalities in the size and shape of the heart: An abnormal ECG may indicate that one or more heart wall regions are bigger than others. This may indicate that the heart is pumping blood more forcefully than usual.
  3. Unbalanced electrolytes: Electrolytes are electrically conducting substances found in the body that support a regular heartbeat. An abnormal ECG reading could occur if your electrolytes are out of equilibrium. Calcium, potassium, and magnesium are examples of such electrolytes.
  4. Heart attack or ischemia: When a heart attack occurs, the blood flow to the heart is hampered, and the heart’s tissue may start to lose oxygen and eventually perish. An abnormal ECG may result from this tissue’s reduced ability to conduct electricity. An abnormalECG may also be brought on by ischemia or poor blood flow.
  5. Irregular heart rhythm: Each heart maintains a constant rhythm, though it may differ from person to person. Changes in this rhythm can be felt physically, such as skipped heartbeats or a fluttering sensation in the chest. The heart’s irregular heartbeat can be seen by doctors using an ECG, but it can only be recorded if it occurs during the examination. Since this is improbable, medical professionals suggest utilising a Holter monitor, which records the heart’s activity for up to 24 hours. Doctors will have a better chance of detecting the anomaly as a result.
  6. Side effects of medications: Some medicines might alter the rhythm and beat of the heart. Arrhythmias can occasionally be brought on by drugs intended to improve the heart’s rhythm. Beta-blockers, sodium channel blockers, and calcium channel blockers are a few drugs that can influence cardiac rhythm.

You should check out how does a Myocardial Infarction ECG looks like.

Treatments for Abnormal ECG

The underlying problem will determine the course of treatment for an abnormal ECG.

  • Side effects from medications: Your doctor might suggest a different medicine if a particular one is what’s producing the abnormal results.
  • Slow heartbeat: In certain persons, the heart may beat very slowly because the electrical signals aren’t carried by the heart in the proper sequence. A pacemaker, which helps the heart return to a more regular rhythm, may be necessary in this case.
  • Heart attack: For the heart to receive blood flow again, a person experiencing a heart attack may need cardiac catheterization or surgery.
  • Imbalanced electrolytes: Electrolyte imbalances in people may need to be treated with medicine or fluids.

Abnormal ECG examples

Some common abnormal ECG examples include;

  • First-degree heart block: First-degree heart block is not particularly significant in and of itself; it can indicate Coronary Artery Disease, acute rheumatic carditis, digoxin toxicity, or electrolyte disruption but usually does not need to be treated. It can however be among the abnormal ECG examples. The first-degree AV node block is what we refer to if the PR interval is larger than 0.2s. A prolonged conduction rate across the AV node characterizes first-degree atrioventricular (AV) block.
  • Right Bundle Branch Block: A right bundle branch block is a condition that prevents the electrical signal from your heart from traveling simultaneously with the left bundle branch. The signal on the right side is lagging as opposed to traveling simultaneously on the left and right sides—an erratic heartbeat results from this. This is among the abnormal ECG examples
  • Left bundle branch block: This is another abnormal ECG examples. It is when the left side of the heart’s electrical impulses are either delayed or blocked. Most frequently, it denotes left-sided heart disease.
  • Sinus tachycardia: In this typical cardiac rhythm, the heart beats more quickly than usual. Even while tachycardia is a typical physiological reaction to stress or activity, it is alarming when it happens when you are at rest. It is connected to physical activity, fear, pain, hemorrhage, and thyrotoxicosis.
  • Atrial tachycardia: A rapid heartbeat is called atrial tachycardia (arrhythmia). You can check out this Sinus Arrhythmia ECG to know more.. The heart rate can reach over 100 beats per minute during an atrial tachycardia episode before dropping to the normal range of 60 to 80 beats per minute. This is also among the abnormal ECG examples.

Heart failure and cardiomyopathy (a heart muscle weakening) can result from persistent atrial tachycardia. If atrial tachycardia can be managed, this kind of cardiomyopathy can be reversed. These were some of the abnormal ECG examples that this article is about.


Various heart problems, some harmless and others not so benign, might result in abnormal ECGs. Any heart problem is typically treatable and manageable. But to achieve this, the underlying problem causing the abnormal ECG examples that are mentioned and that would need to be identified and appropriately addressed.

Try to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol use to support a heart-healthy lifestyle. Exercise regularly, reduce salt intake, and maintain a balanced diet.


What exactly qualifies as an abnormal ECG?

Defects or irregularities in the size and form of the heart are examples of abnormal ECGs. It may indicate that the heart is pumping blood more forcefully than usual because one or more parts of its walls are bigger than others.

When is an ECG a cause for concern?

Many things can be implied by an abnormal EKG. It’s possible for an EKG abnormality to be a healthy variation in the heart’s rhythm. Additionally, an abnormal EKG may indicate a medical emergency like a heart attack or a risky arrhythmia.

Does anxiety result in irregular ECGs?

ECG readings that are abnormal can result from some anxiety disorders. Preexisting anxiety or even test-induced anxiousness may play a role in false positives for rhythm abnormalities or other issues.

Dr Sanam shakya

Dr. Sanam Shakya is a licensed MBBS doctor working as a medical officer under the emergency department in Karnali Province Hospital, Surkhet, Nepal.Dr. Shakya's interests are intensive trauma care, emergency medicine, and internal fixation surgeries. He spends a considerable amount of time inpatient''s healthcare.

Related Posts

Difference between Arteries and Veins: 17 Important differences

Difference between Arteries and Veins: 17 Important differences

Sphygmomanometer parts and how is it used

Sphygmomanometer parts and how is it used

All You Must Know About the Cardiac Risk Markers

All You Must Know About the Cardiac Risk Markers

The classical signs of cardiac tamponade

The classical signs of cardiac tamponade