Echocardiogram and AF: Just over a week ago I... - AF Association

AF Association

22,843 members27,688 posts

Echocardiogram and AF

Samazeuilh profile image

Just over a week ago I had an echocardiogram. At the commencement of the test the sonographer commented that the heart was in sinus rhythm. On ringing the surgery this morning for the result, however, I was told that “Possible atrial fibrillation “ had been written at the top of the report. The doctors have yet to contact me to communicate their interpretation of the test, but I am wondering why this would be written given what the sonographer told me at the beginning of the session. It’s possible that the heart went into AF during the 20 minute echocardiogram, but I have always supposed that I know when I have AF, and I was not aware of any. I was told that the heart was slightly enlarged (which I was informed of years ago before even being diagnosed with AF)- I am wondering whether the “Possible atrial fibrillation “ was simply a comment on that rather than the actual heart rhythm. Does anyone know how these tests work?

14 Replies

It sounds like there were some erratic beats, during the period of the test, which you were not aware of. Happens all the time. Its quite common for people not to realize there are low level AF beats at times, only a beat or two, maybe more. I suppose that was the purpose of the echo.


Samazeuilh profile image
Samazeuilh in reply to pip_pip

Thanks for your reply. That does sound quite plausible. I had had some PAF about 36 hours before, so it could be something left over from that. This was the first episode I’d had for over 6 months so I am disappointed that the monster has returned.

pip_pip profile image
pip_pip in reply to Samazeuilh

Sorry to hear this. But it does not sound too terrible.


Samazeuilh profile image
Samazeuilh in reply to pip_pip

It’s not terrible in itself but for me it’s a reminder that the condition is still there and will probably get worse-its not going away.

pip_pip profile image
pip_pip in reply to Samazeuilh

True. I have been in this position myself, and it is upsetting. Wish you well


BobD profile image

Probably because the operator read your file . Be careful about intepreting echocardiogram info as it is highly subjective and open to operator variations. For example slight .,moderate or trace could all mean the same thing to different people.

Samazeuilh profile image
Samazeuilh in reply to BobD

Interesting. I have been told to book an over-the-phone consultation with a GP, so I will find out shortly.

I would have thought as you say there yourself Samazeuilh that "possible Atrial Fibrillation" was written as the purpose of having your Echo test. I think the only way to diagnose AFib is by having a heart reading by ECG Electo cardiograph. And echo cardiogram is to view your valves and measure how strong your heart is. It's primarily to see that your valves are ok.

I thought the same but a holter monitor showed lots of episodes I was unaware of. As Bob says, don’t read too much into remarks on reports, I have an ecg report saying I may have had an MI in the past - now that is worrying!

I had the same comment on an echocardiogram, my GP said it was picked up on the ECG lead they put on during the test to synchronise the results. A full ECG later confirmed it as flutter rather than AF.

in reply to Fred1954

Cmere I think what I had was flutter. It was like a phone ringing. No beat or pulse just a brr brrr brrrr like a cat purring sort of. Is that like what you had? I've always had an erratic heart beat like a drum and base band but it doesn't either me... Drops and shudders and blubbers and what not ...but the lack of any beat frekaed me out. Its fine now since taking magnesium but I'm still curiose about what it was!

They have to provide a code/ possible diagnosis when a test is ordered, at least here in the US.

The doctor might have put it on there that "possible atrial fibrillation" was the reason for doing the test.

When I got a doppler, the top of the page said, "possible DVT" when I had an upper GI the top of the page said "Possible gallstones." When my wife got an MRI it said "possible herniated disc." When I had blood work done for my gluten issues the top of the page said "possible Celiac disease." When I had a biopsy on a lesion on my leg, the paper said "possible squamous cell carcinoma."

Of these 5 tests in my family the DVT and the herniated disc were the only 2 actually diagnosed by the tests. The others were merely the reason for ordering the test.

I think you are reading too much into it.

By the way, when my wife was snooping at her parents house years ago she came across an order for an upcoming blood test for her father and noted the diagnosis code the doctor used on the order. She looked up the code and it was Chronic Renal Failure. She had her parent's health care POA, so she called the doctor. He confirmed that her father had been in stage 3 Renal Failure for several years and that he routinely had blood work done to see if it was getting worse. He had hidden it from his wife and children and lied to the doctor when he said that his kids knew.

Samazeuilh profile image
Samazeuilh in reply to

It’s turned out to be a false alarm! The echocardiogram result is not back yet. I had emailed a Kardia ECG to the surgery when I had some AF and “possibly atrial fibrillation” was simply something written on the email by the doctor copied from the Kardia assessment that it was “possible atrial fibrillation. “ The receptionist made a mistake. I have to wait another week for the echo result. But thanks for your reply and those of others.

Wow you got twenty minutes? I got it for about three minutes. But it showed nothing as far as I know they didntncomment she's just the technition so she didn't want to talk about anything. It wouldn't have probably helped to have twenty because it only happened me at night and has gone away now but I am kind of jealous you got way longer than me.

You may also like...