What Is ECG/EKG Electrocardiogram?

What Is ECG/EKG Electro-cardiogram?

An electrocardiogram or EKG, ECG is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. The electrocardiogram can translate the heart’s electrical activity into line tracings on a paper. Those lines tracings on a paper are like spikes and dips and they are called waves. The heart is a muscular pump that is made up of four chambers. The heart is divided in two upper chambers called atria and two lower chambers called ventricles. The natural electrical system causes the heart muscle to contract and pump blood throughout the heart to the lungs and the rest of the body.

how to read an ekgHow To Read An ECG

The purpose of the electrocardiogram is to:

1. To check your heart’s electrical activity

2. To find out the cause of the unexplained chest pain, this could be caused by a heart attack, inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis), or angina.

3. Find out what caused the symptoms of heart disease, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, rapid and irregular heartbeats (palpitations).

4. Most patients need to know if the walls of the heart chambers are too thick (hypertrophied).

5. If some of the patients are taking medicines, than they need to know if the medicines are working as well as the side effects of the medicine that could effect on their heart.

6. Check how well the pacemaker is working in order to control a normal heart beat.

The health of the heart, ECG is the best test that our patients can do. This is a good way to see check your heart’s health especially if there are other diseases and conditions present. Those other conditions are: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes or a family history of early heart disease.

Electrocardiogram preparation

Before you go and make this test be sure to tell your doctor about all the nonprescription and prescription medicines you take. Many medicines can affect the outcome of this test being. If you take heart medicines, your doctor will tell you how to take your medicines before you have this test. You must remove all your jewelry from your neck, arms and wrists. Women usually wear bra, T-shirt or gown while men are bare-chested during the test. If you are wearing stocking you may consider taking them off. The nurse will give you a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.

Tell your doctor about your concerns (if you have any) regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. This is important for you to understand the importance of this test. Fill out the medical test information form.

Electrocardiogram- How it is done?

An electrocardiogram, ECG, EKG is usually done by a health care professional and the results of the EKG are interpreted by a doctor, such as internist, family medicine doctor, electro physiologist, cardiologist, anesthesiologist or surgeon.

The electrocardiogram, EKG test can be a part of your physical examination at your health professional’s office or during a series of tests at a hospital or clinic. The EKG equipment is often portable and the test can be done anywhere. There are situations when you can be in a hospital and your heart may be continuously monitored by an EKG system. This process of continuously EKG heart monitoring is called telemetry.

During the EKG process

  • You have to lie on a bed or table. The areas on your arms, legs and chest are going to be cleaned and small metal discs (electrodes) are going to be placed. To provide a smooth surface on those places where we want to place the electrodes, first we have to shave the surface and then attach the electrode discs.
  • Several electrodes are attached to the skin on each arm, leg and on your chest. The electrodes are hooked to a machine that traces your heart activity onto a paper. If the machine is older than the electrodes may be moved at different times during the test to measure your heart’s activity from different locations on your chest. After the procedure, the electrode paste is wiped off.
  • You have to lie very still and breathe normally during the test. Sometimes you may be asked to hold your breath. Do not talk during the test.

My interest lies in assisting nurses in the jobs, careers and resources field. I like to constantly provide useful information and new articles to assist in patient self education, med student useful resources and other information related to the nursing profession in Houston TX