Electrocardiograms, abbreviated as ECGs or EKGs is the medical test perform under the supervision of specialist in a hospital, doctor’s office, clinic or at medical test center. It is a process, that records or measure the electrical signals of the heart. The purpose of the this test is to monitor the activity of the heartbeat and thus diagnosing the related heart issues or problems.
In this, the Heart beat rate is measured, like with the each beat the electrical wave or impulse that passes through the heart causes muscles to contract and thus pump blood from the heart. Sensors (patches) are been adhered to the skin that monitors the electrical signals brought up by the heart, when it beats timely.
The machine records these signals, and then later on observed by the doctor’s (cardiologist) and finally it is concluded and informed to the patient about any unusual (if found).
An ECG is suggested to get two crucial information regarding the heart beats and its functioning, firstly knowing about the time intervals at which the electrical wave pass through heart, it is done to find out the the time taken by the wave to travel from one part of heart to other, if such electrical activity is normal or irregular.
Second is the finding of the parts of the heart that are large or overworked, by measuring the amount of electrical activity progressing through the heart muscle, through ECG, the cardiologist gets an idea of the working of heart.
It is the painless process, and no risk is associated with it, the machines only records the activity and there is no transmission of electrical wave in the body through machine.
The test is performed, with the help of sensors. Firstly, the health care provider will ask you to lie down, followed by the cleaning of your body parts like chest, legs and arms, and then small patches known as electrodes (sensors) are attached to these areas. Numbers of patches may vary as per the condition of the patient.
These sensors or patches are connected to the wires of a machine, that further records the electrical signal’s of the heart into the wavy lines, which van be observed on the screen and printed on a paper for further observation or review.
When it is asked to go for the ECG
- If the arteries are narrowed or blocked of the heart (coronary artery disease) that causes heart attack or chest pain.
- If the person had a history of heart attack.
- Whether the person is undergoing any heart treatments like pacemaker are working properly.
- Even in case of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmias).
- Shortness of breath.
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or confusion.
- Rapid pulses.
- Chest pain.
- Shortness of breath.
- Weakness, or lack of exercises.
On the basis of conditions of a patient, the recordings of the heart activity can be done by two ways; like if the symptoms are fluctuating like rising and slowing then it can not be captured in a standard ECG, so therefore it is recommended by the doctors to go for continuous or remote monitoring. Therefore, the common devices that are used
Holter monitor ( ambulatory ECG) – This device records the continuous heart activity (ECG) for the 24 – 48 hours, it is a small device, which is wear able too. In case of palpitations, or abnormal heart rhythm, insufficient flow of blood to the heart muscle checked by the doctors, they may suggest you for this test.
Event monitor – It is a also the portable device, but it monitor the ECG for few minutes only at once. It is not needed to wear it for long duration.
Stress test is also a type of ECG, where recordings are done while you are exercising or under light stress to observe for changes in the heart. This type of ECG is often called a stress test.
Note, that it is significant to be calm and warm during an ECG monitoring, as any movement, like shivering, can alter the results.
ECG machines are standard equipment in operating rooms and ambulances. Numerous personal devices, such as smart watches, offer ECG monitoring. Ask your doctor if this is an option for you.