What in an electrocardiogram (EKG)?

An electrocardiogram is the electrical recording of the small electric current that runs in the heart which is portrayed on the calibrated piece of paper as shown in the picture to give the detail information of underlying heart conditions.

Do I need to get electrocardiogram?

Not every patient needs an EKG. Only patients with symptoms of a heart disease needs EKG which include:

  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heartbeat or palpitation
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Also, those asymptomatic patients who have following conditions:

  • Heart attack in the past
  • Family history of heart disease esp. congestive heart failure
  • Have a pacemaker placed to assess if the device if working well
  • To help adjust medications for rhythm problems such as atrial fibrillation, etc.
  • For preoperative clearance or risk stratification in certain moderate or high-risk patient. Please discuss with our team physicians if you are undergoing any certain procedures that might need an EKG as a part of the pre-operative assessment.
  • Certain diabetes patient and heart failure patient might need surveillance EKG’s. Always discuss with our physician if you need an EKG if he/she does not discuss during the routine clinical visit.

What does it say about my health condition?

An electrocardiogram measures the electrical activity, rate, and regularity of your heartbeat. It is used mainly to diagnose the following major condition and common heart conditions.

Major condition:

  • Active Heart attack
  • Old heart attack

Common heart conditions:

  • Irregular heart rhythm -most common is Atrial Fibrillation
  • Heart chamber enlargement
  • Indication of enlarged pressure on the right side
It is used in the clinics, emergency department and in the hospital when patient gets admitted for suspicion of heart conditions.

Any side-effects of getting EKG?

It is painless procedure which can be done at the bedside by the portable EKG machine. The operator or technician will expose your chest region over the heart area keeping the modesty to make you feel comfortable during the procedure. The procedure takes 4-5 minutes to set-up and getting the complete 12 lead images.