Medical Q&As

ECG - how do I get the test?

I am 29 and there is a history of heart attacks in the males in my family. I have occasionally (about 6 times) felt a sharp pain in the left side of my chest. Should I do a heart test? How much would it cost and where would I get it done. I don't have a medical card.

It is unlikely that the discomfort you describe is cardiac in origin. When people describe cardiac pain they rarely use the word sharp to describe it. However, you do have a family history of heart disease, which is an important risk factor. An ECG or heart test as you describe it would give some useful information but I would recommend more basic things first. Ask your GP to measure your blood pressure and also have a blood test to measure your cholesterol level. If you smoke you should seriously address your need to quit the habit because smoking is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease. You canít change your family history but you can certainly set about trying to stop smoking. To answer your specific practical questions regarding the ECG; firstly, many GPs have ECG machines so your own doctor may be able to do the test for you. If your doctor does not have an ECG machine he can refer you to your local hospital to have the test done. The charge for the test can vary because GPs can vary in their pricing schedule for various procedures but in broad general terms the fee for the test would be within the price range of a consultation fee. Simply phone your GPís secretary who will be able to tell you the exact fee.