Severe bloating can put pressure on the heart and trigger heart monitor readings that can be mistaken for a heart attack, according to a case report on a previously healthy 41-year-old man who was seen by doctors at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, after three weeks of lower extremity swelling, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
While in the ICU, the man’s heart monitor suddenly showed the onset of ST-segment elevations — often an indicator of a heart attack.
But when pressure was placed on the man’s upper abdomen to assess the severe bloating, the heart monitor suddenly stopped showing ST-segment elevations.
After a nasogastric tube was inserted to relieve the man’s bloating, the man did not have any further signs of heart trouble.
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