Electrocardiogram

ELECTROCARDIOGRAM

Overview

An Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is probably the most well-known of the non-invasive heart procedures that almost everyone is aware of. ECG is a quick, painless and effective test that gives a good picture of the heart condition. In this article, we will focus on understanding how an ECG works, what is the ECG procedure and how are the ECG results interpreted. 

If you have undergone any medical check-up like a pre-employment medical check-up, a medical examination for insurance or even a routine check-up, chances are you have already undergone an ECG test, without even realizing that you are undergoing a heart procedure. That is how painless this particular procedure is.

So, how exactly does an ECG test work? As we all know, our heart works on the basis of electrical impulses, known as heartbeat, that travel from the top of the heart to the bottom part. An electrocardiogram or ECG test monitors these heartbeats and plots them on a machine. The doctors then go through the ECG test results to identify any issues or early signs of a heart disease.

During the ECG procedure, multiple electrodes (generally 12) are attached to your skin. These electrodes are in the form of flat coin-shaped plates which are attached to your body with the help of sticky adhesive substance. One electrode is placed on each arm and leg and the remaining are attached to the chest.

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They measure the electrical activity of the heart during the procedure. This is then plotted on a device associated with the electrodes. The plotting during an ECG procedure is called tracing. The electrodes are removed after the procedure and any remaining adhesive can easily be removed by wiping off.

The most important aspect of an ECG is the correct reading of the ECG test results. A tracing consists of repeated waves of particular shapes. The scientific names for these shapes are P wave, QRS Complex, ST segment and T wave. It takes years of practice for a cardiologist to correctly understand the meaning of the plots in the tracing.

A heart test ECG is a great way to identify whether the patient’s heart is 

  • Beating too fast
  • Beating too slow
  • Having a problem with the heart’s valves
  • Having a blockage in the arteries.

Thus, a simple non-invasive procedure, the ECG test & ecg results helps in early identification and hence resolution of any heart related ailments. 

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