Electrocardiograms (EKG)

What is an electrocardiogram (EKG)?

With each beat of your heart, an electrical impulse passes through the heart, causing it to squeeze and pump blood. An electrocardiogram, commonly referred to as an ECG or EKG, is a test that records the electrical activity of your heart and can help screen for heart disease. Your doctor may recommend an EKG to check for conditions such as arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) or coronary artery disease, or to monitor the heart after a heart attack. It may also be used to determine the effectiveness of heart medications.

An EKG is a painless procedure and there is no electrical shock involved. Depending on the type of EKG you’re having, you will lie on a table (or you may be on a treadmill) with electrodes (sticky patches with metal conductors that transmit electrical current) attached to your chest, arms or legs. The electrodes connect to equipment that shows your heart’s electrical activity on a screen or graph paper. If you’ll be lying down during the procedure, you will be asked to lie still to ensure the most accurate results.

The entire process takes only a few minutes and there is no special preparation needed. You may feel minor discomfort when the electrodes are removed and in rare instances may have a slight rash in those areas. After your doctor has reviewed your EKG, the doctor will go over the results with you and may recommend additional testing or treatment as needed