What it is:
An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test done to check for problems with your heart’s electrical activity. As a result of this test, the heart’s electrical activity is translated into line tracings on paper.
A health professional usually does the EKG, which is then interpreted by a doctor. EKGs can be part of a physical exam or during a series of tests.
Reasons for the Procedure:
- Check a heart’s electrical activity
- Determine the cause of symptoms of heart disease, such as shortness of breath, fainting, dizziness, or rapid, irregular heartbeats (palpitations)
- Determine the cause of unexplained chest pain that that could be the result of angina, heart attack or inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis)
- Check to see how medicines are working and whether side effects are affecting the heart
- Evaluate if the heart chamber walls are too thick (hypertrophied)
- Determine if mechanical devices that have been implanted into the heart, such as pacemakers, are working properly and controlling a normal heartbeat.
- Check on the heart’s health when other diseases or conditions – high cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes or family history of heart disease - are present.
How to Prepare:
-Inform you doctor of all the nonprescription and prescription medicines you are taking. - Take off all your jewelry from your wrists, arms and neck.
- Typically, men are bare-chested during this test, while women will wear a bra, T-shirt or gown.
- Stockings should be removed.
- You will be instructed to lie down on a table or bed
- Areas on your chest, arms and legs where small metal discs (electrodes) are going to be placed will be cleaned and sometimes shaved to provide a smooth, clean surface to attach the discs.
- Electrodes are attached to the skin on each leg, arm and on your chest.
- These electrodes are hooked to a machine that traces your hear heart’s activity onto paper.
- You will be asked to breathe normally and lie still during the test. At times you may be asked to hold your breath.
- During the test, you should not talk.
What to Expect:
There is no risk or pain associated with and EKG and it is not harmful in anyway – electricity is not sent into the body.
Typically this procedure takes ten minutes
You may get a rash or redness where the electrode patches were attached to your skin. This is a mild rash that typically goes away without treatment.
Usually you can immediately resume your normal routine unless advised otherwise by your provider.
All of MMC Providers can perform an EKG.