EKG DEFINITIONAn electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a procedure used to monitor heart health. Electric impulses produced by special cells found on the upper right chamber of the heart triggers each and every heartbeat. In turn, an EKG is used by your doctor to look for heart rhythm and heartbeat patterns to screen for a variety of heart diseases.
EKG PURPOSEThis painless, noninvasive procedure is used to screen for a multitude of typical heart conditions. Your doctor may prescribe an ECG to spot arrhythmias, a previous heart attack, heart valve problems, heart defects, heart attacks during emergencies, and narrowed or blocked arteries.
EKG RISKSAn ECG has few to no risks to your health. At most, you may have difficulty removing the bandages used to attach the electrodes on your person. There's also the unlikely occurrence of redness and swelling of the skin where the electrodes were attached.
EKG PREPARATION REQUIREDYou don't need to prepare for an electrocardiogram. Nevertheless, you should avoid drinking cold water or exercising immediately before the ECG exam because these two activities can tamper with the accuracy of the results.
EKG PROCEDUREYou'll first put on a hospital gown. You'll then lie on a bed or examination table. From there, 12 to 15 electrodes are attached to your arms, chest, and legs with sticky patches and gel that will help detect and conduct cardiac electrical currents. You may need to shave in order to attach the electrodes properly.
EKG COMPLICATIONSElectrocution isn't possible with an ECG. This procedure merely records electrical activity and doesn't emit electricity itself. Redness and swelling from bandage removal is the likeliest complication. However, the stress test ECG can cause irregular heartbeats or, even rarer, a heart attack due to the required physical activity needed to make the test work.
EKG SIDE EFFEKGSECG, at best, will cause minor discomfort from bandage handling and electrode removal. Swelling and redness of skin on the site where the electrodes are placed after they're removed can happen, but are unlikely.
EKG RESULTSAn even and consistent heart rhythm and rate is what the doctor will search for during your ECG exam. For a clean bill of health, your heart should produce 50 to 100 beats every minute. Having a slower, faster, or even irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) can serve as a symptom for a multitude of possible heart conditions and diseases, circulation problems, structural abnormalities, and so forth.