An electrocardiogram, also called "EKG" or "ECG", is a simple test commonly used to check for a wide variety of heart abnormalities. An ECG is often included as part of an overall physical exam. ECGs are also used to follow the progression of someone undergoing treatment for a heart condition.
You will recline comfortably on an exam table; six sticky electrodes or "leads" are placed on your chest, and a lead is also placed on each arm and each leg. These leads are connected by small wires to the ECG machine; the paper in the ECG machine records a graph of your heart activity by registering the tiny electrical currents generated by your heart as it beats. The test itself is very brief (usually less than 2 minutes), although it takes a couple of additional minutes to set up the ECG machine before the test. The test is interpreted by a cardiologist.
Some common abnormalities seen on an electrocardiogram include:
- Irregular or abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
- Early ECG changes, when comparing the current ECG to a previous ECG, that suggest a developing heart problem
- Heart enlargement
- Heart changes that can occur if high blood pressure goes untreated or is inadequately treated
- Patterns consistent with coronary heart blockages or heart attack (myocardial infarction)
There is no special preparation for this test. Please bring your insurance card and co-pay (if any) to your appointment.
We hope this has been helpful, but should you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to call our office at (203)265-9831 and ask for the Testing Department.