What is an Electrocardiogram?
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG or EKG, is a non-invasive test used by your doctor to record the activity of your heart.
Why is an Electrocardiogram used?
An electrocardiogram is used to help your doctor look for any indications of heart disease or other heart-related abnormalities. Your doctor may use an ECG to:
- Evaluate your heartbeat for arrhythmias
- Diagnose a previous heart attack
- Detect other abnormalities of the heart
- Evaluate the effectiveness of certain heart medications or treatment
What does an electrocardiogram involve?
An ECG is a fairly quick test – lasting around 15 minutes or so – that starts off with your doctor placing sensors on your arms, legs, and chest. If you’re a male, your doctor will ask for shave any necessary areas of your chest. Your doctor will then have you lay down as a computer produces a reading of your heart’s activity. An abnormal ECG reading may indicate certain issues, such as:
- Abnormalities in the structure of your heart
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Heart attack or ischemia
- Abnormalities in your heartbeat
- Side effects from certain medication