Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a medical test used to determine if a patient has any heart disease using electrical signals. It can also be used to determine the health of the heart. A doctor will suggest an ECG test if he suspects any issues with your heart. This test is conducted by a trained healthcare professional at a clinic or a hospital.
When is an ECG Test advised?
An ECG test is a painless, fast and non-invasive test used for diagnosing various heart diseases in people of all age groups. It is generally used to determine the symptoms of various heart problems.
It can also be used to detect:
- Arrhythmias, a condition that causes abnormal heart rhythms
- Thickened heart muscle
- Heart attack where the blood supply to the heart gets blocked
- Electrolyte abnormalities namely high potassium, low or high calcium
- Coronary artery disease that narrows the coronary arteries and can lead to chest pain or heart attack
Your doctor would conduct an ECG test if you have the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Fatigue, weakness or inability to exercise
If a patient has symptoms that last only for few seconds, a standard ECG cannot capture the abnormality. In such cases, your doctor would suggest continuous or remote ECG monitoring(24 hrs Holter).
How is an ECG Test Conducted?
There are different ways of conducting an ECG test. In general, this test is conducted by attaching sticky and small electrodes to the chest, legs and arms. All the electrodes are connected through wires to the ECG recording machine.
A patient can eat and drink before going for the test and he/she does not need any preparation for the test. The patient needs to remove his upper clothing before attaching the electrodes. The patient needs to lay flat so that the system can generate graphs. It is called a resting ECG.
The test will be completed in a few minutes and the patient can go home immediately after the test. Your doctor will record the ECG patterns on a paper so that they can be used in the future for reference.
Types of ECG
There are different types of ECG such as:
Holter monitor: It is a portable and small ECG machine that is used to record continuous ECG for 1 or 2 days. Your doctor suggests this test if he suspects abnormal heart rhythm leading to palpitations occasionally which is not traceable during ECG. The electrodes are taped to the skin from the monitor and you can go home after that.
Event monitor: This test is recommended by your doctor if you have symptoms that come and go. This device is smaller than a holter monitor and it records the heart’s electrical activity at certain times only for a few minutes. You can wear this device for weeks or sometimes months. Whenever you notice any symptoms, you should try to get the readings recorded in the device. The recordings will be analysed later by the doctor for further treatment.
Visit Dr. Hari Kiran for an ECG Test
Dr. Hari Kiran is a consultant interventional cardiologist in Hyderabad with 10 years of experience. His clinic is well equipped to conduct various tests such as ECG, TMT, echocardiogram, etc. If you want to undergo an ECG test, visit the clinic today.