Electrocardiogram: Safe, painless and effective test for evaluating your heart function

Electrocardiogram also known as ECG or EKG is a device which uses electrodes to record electrical activity of the heart. Electrodes are attached to the skin on your chest, arms and legs.

ECG is very extensivly used in diagnosis of possible heart disease because of its speed, simplicity, low cost, safety and the fact that it can detect several heart diseases.

It is used to:

  • Diagnose a heart attack
  • Detect irregular heart rhythm-arrhythmia
  • Diagnose poor blood flow to the heart
  • Evaluate the condition of your heart or pacemaker
  • Evaluate the thickness of heart walls and overall size of the heart
  • HOW TO PREPARE FOR ECG

    It would be wise to shower day before the test. On the day of the test don`t exercise to avoid perspiration and moist skin. Also, avoid any kind of creme or lotion.

    Wear only short socks on the day of the test as electrodes need to to be placed on your legs.

    Also, it is good to know that some men shave some of their body hair to avoid pain while taking off the patches from their skin after the test is over.

    WHAT TO EXPECT DURING ECG

    The doctor will tell you to take your shirt off, pull up your pants up to your knee and to take off your socks. Then it will place small patches to your chest, arms and legs. After that it will connect the electrodes with the patches on your body. Then you will be told to lie still and breath normaly while the device records electrical activity of your heart on graph paper.

    The test last from few seconds till one minute depending on the patient. In my case it lasted about 1 minute because the doctors noticed some irregularities in my heart rate. Anyway the test is very short, only the preparations for the test last from 5 to 10 minutes.

    WHAT CAN AFFECT TEST RESULTS

  • Nervousness
  • Moving during the test
  • Electrodes are not properly attached to your skin
  • Exercise before the test, especially intense exercise
  • Talking or irregular breathing during the test
  • Medications. Tell the doctors what medications you are taking, before the test.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER THE ECG

    After the test the doctor will inform you of your test results or it will set up an appointment for another visit and consultations. In my case the doctor send me to do stress test right after the ECG after he noticed irregularities in my heart rythm. ECG and stress test where both available in the same facility at the time.

    Anyway, the doctor will evaluate the results of the test taking in consideration your health, medical history, possible symptoms as well as other test results you may have.





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