PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Breast implants may skew heart attack detection, resulting in a false diagnosis, according to new research.

This potentially puts women who have undergone breast augmentation surgery at far greater risk of heart attacks as symptoms of a heart attack may go undetected.

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The electrocardiogram tests, which help doctors determine people who have suffered heart attacks, are unreliable, researchers say.

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In order for the ECG to work, electrodes are used to properly assess the rhythm and electrical activity of the heart, to detect abnormalities and determine which treatment is required.

However, the new study presented at a conference in Vienna suggests far less accurate detection in women with breast implants because the implants disrupt the ECG, resulting in a major gap in diagnosis.

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Dr. Sok-Sithikun Bun says, “Doctors should be aware that ECG interpretation can be misleading in patients with breast implants. In case of any doubts regarding the diagnosis,  blood tests  need to be performed depending on the symptoms.”

He also advises women with breast implants to let their doctors know about their augmentations before the ECG.

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“We do not want to frighten patients,” he said. “But it may be wise to have an ECG before a breast implant operation. The ECG can be kept on file and used for comparison if the patient ever needs another ECG.”