An EKG test is a straightforward and painless procedure to diagnose various heart conditions. This quick diagnostic tool can inform your healthcare provider about conditions like heart attacks, heart failure, heart damage, abnormal heart rhythms, and the performance of your pacemaker.
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An Electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) employs temporary electrodes placed on your chest and limbs to monitor and record your heart’s electrical activity, which is responsible for controlling your heartbeats. This information is then converted into a wave pattern by a computer for your healthcare provider to analyze. This non-invasive test can be carried out while you’re resting or during physical exercise, as part of a stress test.
Since a regular EKG only monitors your heart’s electrical activity for a brief period, it might not detect intermittent irregularities. To capture such anomalies, your healthcare provider can recommend:
Your natural pacemaker, the sinoatrial node, initiates your heartbeat with an electrical signal. An EKG tracks this signal and its effect on your heart as it contracts and relaxes with each heartbeat.
Your healthcare provider will examine the electrical activity’s intensity, frequency, and time intervals between the distinct waves or peaks representing the electrical impulses.
Both ECG and EKG refer to an electrocardiogram. EKG is derived from the German word for electrocardiogram, which uses “k” instead of “c”. This term should not be confused with an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of your heart.
Your healthcare provider may use an EKG to:
An EKG can also be used to monitor your heart after you’ve:
Your provider may recommend an EKG test if you’re experiencing: