ECG Screening is Great Medicine and Great Business
Cardiomyopathy can be diagnosed up to 2 years before becoming clinically evident by finding PVC’s on the lead II ECG according to a recent report. It is interesting to note that in human medicine many HMO’s and insurance companies no longer pay for blood work prior to surgery, but do pay for ECG screening. It is known that cardiomyopathy is a major cause of anesthetic deaths using today’s state-of-the-art anesthetics. Pet safety can be enhanced via lead II ECG screening prior to anesthesia induction, while increasing client peace of mind and increasing practice income. The key is to charge a fee acceptable to the client so that you are able to maintain a high level of compliance. This minimal fee can be justified in that it is for screening purposes only to determine if the ECG is normal or not. If not, a full interpretive ECG should be obtained (and charged for) because of the skill and expense to fully interpret the findings and develop the appropriate treatment plan. If you are not skilled in this interpretation, simply fax a copy of the ECG tracings to services providing ECG interpretation or equip yourself with reliable in-house ECG analyzing equipment currently available.
The ECG screen should be obtained in the exam room by your technician at the time the pet is being admitted for anesthesia, in front of the client for better perception of the extra care that is being taken. Due to the ease of obtaining ECG screens with the portable hand-held units currently available, ECG screening should become a standard component of wellness exams just as it is in human medicine.
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