Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)- Cardiology, General Medicine/ Check Up

Doctors: Technician, Nurse, General Physician, Cardiologist

What is electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)?

An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a non-invasive, painless test that helps to measure the electrical activity of the heartbeat. This test is commonly used to detect heart problems and monitor the heart's status in different situations.

Why is it done?

An ECG helps the doctor to determine how long the electrical wave takes to pass through the heart. By measuring the time required by a wave to travel from one part of the heart to the next, the doctor would be able to determine if the electrical activity is normal or slow, fast or irregular. An ECG is also helpful to find out if parts of the heart are too large or are overworked.

The procedure:

An ECG is generally done in a doctor's office or hospital. Patient is asked to lie on an examining table or bed and is required to stay still with normal breathing pattern. Generally, a total of 10 electrodes are attached to the chest and limbs. These electrodes are sticky patches, which help to record the electrical activity of the heart. Each electrode has a wire attached to a monitor. Electrodes will record the impulses, which cause the beating of the heart. These impulses are recorded by a computer and presented as waves on a monitor or printed on paper.

What to expect after the procedure?

As this is a non-invasive procedure, patient can resume regular activities once the test is done.



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About the Author:

Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence.  His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology.  He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.