EKG/ELECTROCARDIOGRAM


WHAT IS AN ELECTROCARDIOGRAM/EKG?


An electrocardiogram, also called EKG or ECG, is a diagnostic test that analyzes the electrical impulses of the heart.  It can detect and locate the source of many heart problems.  

Electrical signals in the heart trigger heartbeats.  They start at the top of the heart (right atrium) and travel to the bottom causing the heart muscle to contract, pumping blood to the rest of the body.

An EKG reveals the speed of the heartbeat, the rhythm (steady or irregular) and the location of where the heartbeat is recorded.



     
View of a EKG  Machine
(click on picture)

HOW IS AN EKG PERFORMED?

Your technician will attach 10 soft patches called electrodes to your chest and arms. If you are a man, a small patch of hair may have to be shaven for the electrode to attach appropriately.  


You will then be asked to lie still on an examination table for a few minutes while the electrodes detect the electrical impulses of your heart.  A machine records these signals which will be interpreted by our board certified cardiologists.  This test is completely harmless and painless and will take approximately 3-5 minutes.


WHAT DOES AN EKG REVEAL?

Many heart problems change the electrical signature of the heart in distinct ways. An EKG test can help reveal some of these problems:
  • Heart Attack, lack of blood flow to the heart muscle

  • Irregular heartbeat, too fast or too slow

  • Weak pumping hearts

  • Heart muscle that is too thick

  • Parts of the heart that are too big

  • Birth defects in the heart

  • Disease in the heart valves between the different heart chambers

An EKG can also help physicians diagnose a heart attack that is happening now or has happened in the past.  They compare a current EKG to an older one to determine how severe the damage is, if any, and take appropriate action.