Electrocardiogram (ECG)

Electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test is done to see how the heart is functioning.

January 10, 2023

Electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test is done to see how the heart is functioning.
Some facts about Electrocardiogram (ECG):
  • The heart rate and heart rhythm is recorded with the help of ECG.
  • Important information, such as about possible narrowing of the coronary arteries, a heart attack or an irregular heartbeat like atrial fibrillation can be provided by an ECG.
  • Irregular heartbeats and heart diseases can be detected in ECGs
  • Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) can be detected by an ECG.
Preparation for Electrocardiogram (ECG):
  • The areas are shaved first if there is too much body hair so that the electrode can be attached properly.
  • Other than this, no preparation is needed.
  • These electrodes are connected by cables to an ECG machine, where the signals it receives will be converted into an ECG graph and saves it.

Procedure for Electrocardiogram (ECG):

  • The typical ECG pattern is produced if the heart is beating steadily.
  • The electrical activity of the heart can be measured on the surface of your skin.
  • A total of ten electrodes is used in the standard '12-lead ECG'.
  • Six of these electrodes are attached on your chest, and then one each on your lower arms and calves.
  • The strength of the signals between two electrodes is compared by the device as signals sent by the heart don't travel evenly over your skin
  • Experts can find out things like an infarction has occurred in which part of the heart muscle, or whether a heart rhythm problem is coming from the left or right ventricle depending on which lead shows irregularities.
Types of ECG Tests:

Resting ECG:

  • Resting ECG involves lying still on your back with a bare chest.
  • It is important for you to lie calmly and comfortably during the test since tensing your muscles, moving, coughing or shaking can affect the results.
  • The actual measurement takes about one to five minute.

Exercise ECG:

  • The electrical activity of your heart is measured while you are physically active in Exercise ECG.
  • Usually, riding an exercise bike is involved in this test.
  • The amount of exertion is steadily increased to a high level by making it slowly difficult to turn the pedals.
  • The test is stopped earlier if any irregularities is shown in the ECG.
  • Data on the power that was generated in Watts is also provided in addition to the ECG graph.
  • Your blood pressure will also be checked regularly. 

Holter monitor:

  • Typically, the electrical activity of the heart is recorded over a period of 24 hours with a Holter monitor.
  • Generally 3 or 4 electrodes are attached to your chest, and a small recording device is worn on a belt or hung around your neck.
  • Information about your daily schedule like unusual events, physical activity and sleep is needed to collect the ECG data which are then transferred to a computer later on at the doctor's office for analysis. 
  • A Holter monitor may be used if you only have an irregular heartbeat some of the time and it doesn't show up in a normal ECG.