- EKG Definition
- Heart Problems
- Side Effects
What is an electrocardiogram?
An electrocardiogram or electrocardiograph (ECG or EKG) is the same thing. An EKG is a test that examines the heart function by measuring the electrical activity of the heart. With each heartbeat, an electrical impulse (or wave) travels through the heart. This wave causes the muscle to squeeze and pump blood from the heart. An electrocardiogram measures and records the electrical activity that passes through the heart. Based on the electrocardiogram, the doctor determines whether the electrical activity of the heart is normal or irregular.
The discrepancy between the two terms and abbreviations comes in part from German. Electrocardiogram (ECG) an English word, whereas elektrokardiogramm (EKG) is a German word.
What does an ECG test for?
An ECG is done to:
- Detect abnormal heart rhythms that may have caused blood clots.
- Detect heart problems, including
- Detect non-heart conditions such as
- electrolyte imbalances,
- thyroid imbalances and
- lung diseases.
- Monitor recovery from a heart attack, progression of heart disease or the effectiveness of certain heart medications or a pacemaker.
- Rule out hidden heart disease in patients about to undergo surgery.
What happens during an electrocardiogram?
- Electrocardiogram is a painless procedure.
- Usually, a medical technician places 12 electrodes with adhesive pads on the skin of chest, arms and legs.
- During the test, patient may lie flat while a computer creates a picture digitally or on graph paper of the electrical impulses that move through the heart.
- It takes about 10 minutes to place the electrodes and complete the test, but the actual recording takes only a few seconds.
What are the different types of an electrocardiogram?
Besides the standard EKG, your doctor may recommend other EKGs that include:
- Holter monitor: It's a portable EKG that checks the electrical activity of the heart for one to two days, 24 hours a day. The doctor may suggest it if a patient may have an abnormal heart rhythm, palpitations or doesn't have enough blood flow to the heart muscle.
- Event monitor: The doctor may suggest this device if the patient has intermittent symptoms. When the patient pushes a button, it will record and store the heart's electrical activity for a few minutes. Patient may need to wear it for weeks or sometimes months to confirm a diagnosis.
- Signal-averaged electrocardiogram: It checks if the patient is at high risk of getting a condition called heart arrhythmia, which can lead to cardiac arrest. The test is done in a similar way as a standard EKG, but it uses sophisticated formulas to analyze the risk.
What are the side effects of an electrocardiogram?
Electrocardiogram is a harmless procedure, but a few rare patients may have a slight skin reaction to the electrodes, which subsides on its own.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Difference Between Electrocardiogram and Electroca Related Articles
Heart Healthy Diet: 25 Foods You Should EatWhat foods are heart healthy? Learn what foods help protect your cardiovascular system from heart attack, coronary heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. Plus, find easy meal recipes and menu ideas for more everyday heart benefit.
Cholesterol Drugs SlidesWhen diet and exercise aren't enough, should you turn to drugs? Learn cholesterol basics, drug classes, and available drugs along with their benefits and side effects.
Congenital Heart DefectsCongenital heart defects are heart problems that are present at birth. Genetics may play a role in some heart defects. Symptoms can range from nonexistent to severe and life-threatening. Fatigue, rapid breathing, and decreased blood circulation are a few possible symptoms of congenital heart defects. Many cases do not require any treatment. Procedures using catheters and surgery may be used to repair severe heart defects.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)Congestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, myocarditis, and cardiomyopathies are just a few potential causes of congestive heart failure. Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure may include fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, angina, and edema. Physical examination, patient history, blood tests, and imaging tests are used to diagnose congestive heart failure. Treatment of heart failure consists of lifestyle modification and taking medications to decrease fluid in the body and ease the strain on the heart. The prognosis of a patient with congestive heart failure depends on the stage of the heart failure and the overall condition of the individual.
Coronary Heart Disease Screening Tests (CAD)
Coronary heart disease or coronary heart disease (CAD) screening tests can be used to potentially prevent a heart attack or cardiac event in a person without heart disease symptoms, and can assist in diagnosing heart disease in individuals with heart disease symptoms. Examples of coronary heart disease tests include:
- electrocardiogram (ECC, EKG),
- exercise stress test,
- radionuclide stress test,
- stress echocardiography,
- pharmacologic stress test,
- CT coronary angiogram, and
- coronary angiogram.
Heart CT ScanEBCT (also referred to as a calcium-score screening heart scan). This test is used to detect calcium deposits found in atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries of heart disease patients. The more coronary calcium means more coronary atherosclerosis, which can raise the risk of future cardiovascular problems.
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)A heart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure, and electrical instability of the heart.
Heart Attack PreventionHeart disease and heart attacks can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise, and stress management. Symptoms of heart attack in men and women include chest discomfort and pain in the shoulder, neck, jaw, stomach, or back.
Heart Attack Symptoms and Early Warning Signs
Recognizing heart attack symptoms and signs can help save your life or that of someone you love. Some heart attack symptoms, including left arm pain and chest pain, are well known but other, more nonspecific symptoms may be associated with a heart attack. Nausea, vomiting, malaise, indigestion, sweating, shortness of breath, and fatigue may signal a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms and signs in women may differ from those in men.
CAD SlideshowWhat is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease, arrhythmias and myopathy. Symptoms of heart disease include chest pain and shortness of breath. Explore heart disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Heart Disease SlideshowHeart disease prevention includes controlling risk factors like diet, exercise, and stress. Heart disease symptoms in women may differ from men. Use a heart disease risk calculator to determine your heart attack risk.
Heart Disease QuizTake our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes, symptoms, treatments, testing, and procedures for medically broken hearts.
Heart Failure QuizWhat is heart failure? Learn about this dangerous condition, as well as who is at risk, and what to do about it.
Heart Lead ExtractionThe heart disease lead extraction procedure is needed when your leads are not working properly. This can be caused by: damage to the inside (called a fracture) or outside of the lead,large amounts of scar tissue form at the tip of the lead, causing it to need more energy to function than your pacemaker or ICD can deliver. This condition is known as "exit block," infection at the site of the device and lead implant.
Illustrations of the HeartThe muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. See a picture of the Heart and learn more about the health topic.
What Is a Heart Transplant?Heart transplant consists of three operations: 1) harvesting the heart from the donor, 2) removing the recipient's damaged heart, and 3) the implantation of the donor heart. The selection and distribution of donor hearts is a careful process so that the hearts are distributed fairly. For the patient requiring a heart transplant, all other important organs in the body must be in good shape. The most common complication of heart transplant is organ rejection.
Heart Valve Disease SurgeryHeart valves that are diseased can be treated both surgically (traditional heart valve surgery) and non-surgically (balloon valvuoplasty). The mitral valve is the most commonly repaired heart valve, but the aortic, pulmonic, and tricuspid valves may also undergo some of these repair techniques.
Cardiac Arrest QuizTake the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Quiz. Learning about this potentially deadly condition may save a life.