What is ECG and EKG?
An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), is a device that measures the heart’s electrical signals. This test is done to diagnose heart problems and check the health of your heart. For this purpose, some sensors are attached to the skin to detect the electrical signals that lead to a heartbeat.
An ECG or EKG doesn’t have any difference. ECG stands for electrocardiogram, while EKG is the German translation and spelling for it.
Why is an EKG done?
This non-invasive, painless diagnostic procedure helps the physician identify common heart problems. Your doctor will use this diagnostic method if you have the following symptoms:
● Chest pain
● Shortness of breath
● Weakness or inability to exercise
● Dizziness or confusion
People who are at low risk and have no symptoms do not need this test. But people with a family history of heart disease should do this test in some cases, even if there are no symptoms.
Your doctor can use an electrocardiogram to diagnose the following problems:
● Cardiac arrhythmias
● Obstruction of the heart arteries that can lead to chest pain or a heart attack.
● Diagnose a heart attack that has occurred in the past
● Evaluate the treatment process (for example, when the patient uses a pacemaker)
What are the types of EKG/ECG?
Depending on the symptoms and the heart problem suspected, you might go through different EKG. There are three main types of EKG:
- A resting EKG – while you lie down in a comfortable position, the test is carried out.
- A stress or exercise EKG – while you use a treadmill or bike, the test will be carried out.
- An ambulatory EKG – in order to monitor your heart for one or more days, the electrodes are attached to a small portable machine that’s worn at your waist.
What preparations should we have before the test?
The EKG does not require any prior preparation. But remember to inform your physician about the medications you are taking before doing an ECG. Because taking certain medications can affect the test result.
How is EKG/ECG performed?
You may be asked to shave the parts of your body where the electrodes will be placed. About 12 electrodes or sensors are attached to your chest and limbs during the test. These sensors are connected to a monitor. The computer displays the information from the sensors in waves on a monitor or on paper. After the test, you can also return to your daily activities.
How are electrocardiogram results interpreted?
If your test results are normal, you do not need to do any other tests. But if you have any abnormalities in your ECG, you may have to repeat this test. In some cases, you may need to have other tests, such as an echocardiogram.
The items to assess in your electrocardiogram include:
- Heart rate: If your heart rate is difficult to determine or irregular, doing an ECG can be helpful. Therefore, your physician will be able to diagnose disorders such as bradycardia (low heart rate) or tachycardia (fast heart rate).
- Heart rhythm: If there is an irregularity in the heart rhythm, the ECG detects it. Abnormalities in the heart’s electrical system or the use of certain medications can lead to these problems.
- Heart attack: An ECG can help your doctor determine if a heart attack has occurred in the past, and if a heart attack is occurring.
- Oxygen and blood supply to the heart: Chest pain may occur if blood flow to the heart muscle decreases. The doctor uses ECG to detect such problems.
- Examining the heart structure: ECG also helps to identify any problems in the heart structure. Enlargement of heart valves and walls or heart defects are among the structural problems.
What are the side effects of ECG or EKG?
An ECG is a safe, painless, and quick test. While it is carried out, no electricity is put into your body. Like removing a sticking plaster, you may feel some slight discomfort when the electrodes are removed from your skin- some may feel a little rash where the electrodes were attached.
The test is performed under completely controlled conditions. You will be monitored carefully, and if you feel unwell or experience any symptoms, the test will be finished.
We covered all you need to learn about the EKG test. Southern Nevada Occupational Health Center has performed occupational health services for +15 years in Las Vegas. This center provides various services, including EKG for employers and employees. For more information on other services performed in this center, please visit www.snohc.com.
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