What is an EKG?
An electrocardiogram—commonly referred to as EKG or ECG—is a diagnostic test which measures electrical activity within your heart. During each heart beat, a wave of electricity travels through the heart muscle, resulting in contractions of the top and lower heart chambers. Timing of each electrical impulse, blood flow and contractions in each chamber of the heart is measured and analyzed to glean pertinent information regarding the patient’s heart health.
While commonly confused with echocardiograms, EKGs measure electrical activity as opposed echocardiograms which use sound waves to create a visual representation of the heart.
What Do EKGs Detect?
EKGs provide data on the amount of time it takes for electrical waves to pass through the heart muscle, as well as the amount of electrical activity able to move from chamber to chamber. This information can provide insight into any abnormal blood flow to the heart muscle such as heart attack, overworked or enlarged hearts, electrolyte abnormalities, and adverse medication side effects—it can also detect any irregular, overly fast or excessively slow heart rates.
Who Needs an EKG?
EKGs are often used for immediate diagnostic purposes in the case that an an individual experiences chest pain, palpitations or other symptoms of heart disease—particularly if dizziness or shortness of breath are present. In less urgent situations, EKG testing may be performed to check thickness of the heart wall chambers, determine the functionality of a pacemaker or ensure certain medications are working as intended.
EKGs: What to Expect
An EKG is a non-invasive testing procedure in which electrodes, placed on the chest, arms and legs, are connected to a machine that measure heart activity. The patient is asked to relax and breathe normally, and the test is typically completed within a few minutes. EKGs are a painless and easy test.
In preparation for an EKG, be sure to discuss current medications with your treating provider. Some men may require shaving of small areas of chest hair, which can prevent the electrodes from sticking. Lotions or oils should not be applied to the chest the day of your EKG.
While The basic principles of interpretation of EKGs in children are the same as those in adults, changes in anatomy and physiology that occur between birth and adolescence can sometimes result in features that differ from normal adult patterns and can vary depending upon the child’s age.
Visit ConvenientMD for EKG Diagnostics Today!
EKGs can be immensely helpful tools for getting an immediate overall consensus of heart health and are vital for determining whether or not a problem might exist that requires treatment. At ConvenientMD, all of our urgent care clinics in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts are equipped with EKG machines and a warm, knowledgeable staff of treating providers with years of experience interpreting results. Should we detect a potential issue with the heart, we’ll work to develop an appropriate treatment plan to get you back to good health as quickly as possible.
Visit ConvenientMD today for EKG testing—just walk right into any of our locations without ever needing an appointment!