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Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

An electrocardiogram, also called an ECG or EKG, is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart. It used to measure:

  • Any damage to the heart
  • How fast the heart is beating and whether it is beating normally
  • The effects of drugs or devices used to control the heart (such as a pacemaker)
  • The size and position of the heart chambers

A Deborah Specialty Physician may order this test if a patient has:

  • Chest pains or palpitations
  • Upcoming surgery
  • History of heart problems
  • Family history of heart disease

How does it work?

A health care provider will attach electrodes to the patient’s arms, legs, and chest. The electrodes are connected to a machine that reads the heart’s electrical activity and turns it into wavy lines which are printed on paper.

The patient must remain calm and still during the procedure and may be asked to hold his or her breath during the test.

Sometimes this test is done while the patient is exercising or under light stress to look for changes in the heart. This type of ECG is often called a stress test.

What can I expect after treatment?

Patients can resume normal activities after an electrocardiogram.