This information is intended for general information only and should not be considered as medical advice on the part of Health-Tourism.com. Any decision on medical treatments, after-care or recovery should be done solely upon proper consultation and advice of a qualified physician.
What is an EKG?
An EKG is also known as an ECG or electrocardiogram. It is a medical test that is used to check for problems with your heart’s electrical activity. It shows the electrical activity of the heart in as line tracings which have spikes and dips called waves.
An EKG measures the time intervals and helps the doctor determine how long the electrical wave takes to pass through the heart. The amount of time it takes for a wave to travel from one part of the heart to another provides the doctor with information on whether the electrical activity is slow or normal, irregular or fast.
In addition by measuring the amount of electrical activity which passes through the heart’s muscle, the doctor is able to evaluate if parts of the heart are being overworked or too large.Why is it done?
Conditions that may require an EKG include:
- To check the electrical activity of the heart.
- To find the cause of chest pressure or pain. This may be due to a heart attack, pericarditis or angina.
- To find the cause of symptoms of heart disease. These include dizziness, shortness of breath, fainting and palpitations.
- To evaluate of the heart chamber walls are too thick
- To evaluate how well the medication is working and if they are causing any side effects to the heart.
- To evaluate how implanted mechanical devices of the heart such as pacemakers are working.
- To check the heart’s health in the presence of other diseases such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes
Other reasons for an EKG include:
- Suspected pulmonary embolism
- Suspected myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Cardiac murmurs
- Fainting or collapse
- To monitor the response to heart medication
- To assess the severity of electrolyte abnormalities
- To assess the heart’s electrical activity before a surgery
How is it done?
An EKG may be done as part of the physical examination. It can be done at your doctor’s office or at a hospital or clinic.
You will lie on the examination table and some areas of your chest arms or legs may be shaved. This is to provide a clean smooth surface for the electrodes. Several electrodes are then attached to the skin on your chest and each arm and leg. The electrode may feel cool when they are placed on your chest but the test is painless. These electrodes are attached to a machine which traces your heart activity onto a paper.
You will be asked to lie very still and breathe normally. Sometimes you may be asked to hold your breath. After the test, the electrodes will be removed and the electrode paste will be wiped off.Results
The spikes and dips traced on the paper are interpreted by your doctor. They are grouped into various sections which show how your heart is working.
Duration of procedure/surgery : An EKG usually lasts for 5-10 minutes.
Risks : An EKG is a safe test. No electricity passes through your body from the machine and there is no risk of electric shock.
Learn more about EKG