ELECTROCARDIOGRAM (EKG or ECG)
What Is an EKG?
An electrocardiogram (an EKG or ECG) is a recording of the electrical
activity of your heart. It is a simple and painless test. This gives your doctor
a "snapshot" view of your heart६ectrical activity. This test is done during
a routine physical. It is also done when you are having symptoms like chest
pain, dizziness, or palpitations.
Why should I have an EKG?
Your EKG tells your doctor much about the health of your heart. Your doctor
looks for changes in your EKG to help him or her diagnose many different
problems which can produce changes in your EKG, like the following:
- The heart doesnt enough oxygen to do its work. (ischemia)
- Heart Attack (myocardial infarction)
- Problems with the rhythm of your heartbeat (arrhythmias)
- Problems with blood chemistry. (Too much or too little of some things,
like Potassium or Calcium, in your blood can cause problems in your heart͊ electrical system.)
- Infections or inflammations of the heart. (Pericarditis, Endocarditis)
- Enlarged heart (Cardiomyopathy)
Before the test
- You do not need to do anything special to prepare for the test.
When you arrive for the test
- You will lie down on a table, stretcher, or bed.
- Your doctor, nurse, or a technician will attach 12 or 15 sticky patches to
your chest, arms, and legs.
- Wires are attached to the sticky patches. The wires are also attached to
the EKG machine.
During the test
- You must lie very still. Do not move or talk during the test. You can
relax and breathe normally.
- When the machine is turned on, wavy lines showing the electrical activity
of your heart are printed onto graph paper.
- This test takes a total of only a few minutes. The sticky patches are then
removed and your doctor can review the EKG.
After the test
- You can return to your normal activity. Your doctor will discuss with you
the results of your EKG.