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Can heart failure be improperly diagnosed?

Washington residents with heart-related problems may go in to get some tests run in order to see exactly what those problems are. But did you know that misdiagnosing heart attacks is one of the most common forms of medical malpractice? Here's what you should know about the diagnosis of heart failure and other heart-related ailments.

First of all, yes: according to the American Heart Association, heart failure can be improperly diagnosed. This can happen for many reasons. Some of the most common include:

  • Not performing the correct test
  • Misinterpreting symptoms
  • Missing symptoms entirely
  • Getting back false positives or negatives on a test that isn't foolproof

When it comes to testing the heart for issues, an electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) or echocardiography ("echo") are the most efficient ways to sniff out any potential problems. It's a surefire way to see if there's anything physically wrong with the heart, eliminating the chance for misdiagnosis.

As for misdiagnosis itself, why does it happen? Simply put, heart attack symptoms are shared with a lot of other issues such as gallstones, rib fractures, indigestion, or panic attacks. The age and even gender of someone can affect misdiagnosis rates as well. If you're young, a doctor may not consider the possibility of a heart attack. Additionally, it's been a medical myth for years that heart attacks in women are rare when that simply isn't the case.

If you have suffered from extensive damage due to a heart attack that was misdiagnosed, you may wish to take a look at the legal options available to you.

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