Electrocardiogram

An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) measures the electrical activity of your heart. The heart generates an electrical signal, which flows out from your heart through your body. Small electrical sensors, called electrodes, are put on your skin to sense the electricity that began in your heart. The electrical activity is then turned into a graph. This can give doctors an idea of whether your heart is beating normally.

  • Call Your Doctor

    Call your doctor if you have heart-related symptoms, such as chest pain or trouble breathing.

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) measures the electrical activity of your heart. The heart generates an electrical signal, which flows out from your heart through your body. Small electrical sensors, called electrodes, are put on your skin to sense the electricity that began in your heart. The electrical activity is then turned into a graph. This can give doctors an idea of whether your heart is beating normally.

    EKG Waves
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  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Test

    An EKG is used to:


    • Diagnose
      heart attacks
      and rhythm problems
    • Offer clues about other heart conditions and conditions not primarily related to the heart

    • Detect conditions that alter the body’s balance of electrolytes, such as
      potassium
      and
      magnesium
    • Detect other problems, such as overdoses of certain drugs

    Symptoms that may prompt an EKG include:

    • Chest discomfort or pain
    • Shortness of breath
    • Palpitations
    • Anxiety
    • Weakness
    • Nausea or the feeling that you have to vomit
    • History of fainting

    An EKG may also be obtained if you:


    • Are about to have surgery with
      general anesthesia
    • Are in occupations that stress the heart or where public safety is a concern
    • Are an older adult or have diabetes
    • Already have heart disease

    • Have had a heart-related procedure, such as getting a
      pacemaker

  • Possible Complications

    There are no major complications associated with this test.