Inherited Heart Rhythm Conditions

What kind of testing is involved?

Some of the clinical testing involved in diagnosing an inherited heart rhythm condition includes recording abormal changes in heart rhythms and can also include medical imaging.

An electrocardiogram records the electrical impulse generated during each heartbeat and can be used to identify normal and abnormal changes to the heart rhythm. The electrocardiogram can be done during exercise (stress test) or over 24 hours (Holter monitor) to increase the likelihood of detecting an abnormal heart rhythm.

Various forms of medical imaging, including an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) and heart MRI are often used to detect abnormalities.

Certain IHRCs can be identified from genetic testing obtained through a blood sample. However, many heart rhythm conditions cannot be identified through genetic testing due to their complexity of inheritance. Thus, genetic testing may be helpful in certain individuals with a known family history of genetic mutation, but may not be helpful in other families. Physicians can also test for mutations amongst large groups of genes (genetic panel), although this can often generate ambiguous findings and unclear clinical implications.

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