An electrocardiogram is more familiarly known and referred to as an ECG or EKG. Simply put, this standard piece of medical equipment is found in doctor’s offices, clinics, operating rooms, and ambulances, and is used to monitor heart health and activity. Many electronic personal devices, such as smart phones and watches, have ECG monitoring apps available for at-home use.
The machine works by recording the electrical signals in the heart through as many as 12 sensors that are attached via patches to your chest, arms and legs. These patches connect to a monitor, where you will be able to see the electrical signals as they come in. One of the most important things to remember during an ECG monitoring procedure is that you must stay as still as possible.
Any movement could potentially disrupt how the machine reads the signals and then your results may not be as accurate. The process only takes a few minutes, and there is no downtime needed afterward.
It’s a quick, painless, and non-invasive procedure that is used very frequently by doctors to monitor your heart rhythm among other things, such as how well a heart disease treatment, like a pacemaker, is doing its job, or whether you have blocked or narrowed artery that is causing chest pain or a heart attack. The ECG can also tell whether or not you have experienced a heart attack.
Most of the time, ECG monitoring is used to determine the cause of a heart problem for someone who shows specific symptoms, such as chest pain, dizziness, heart palpitations, a rapid pulse or trouble breathing, weakness, or feelings of fatigue. For those who are at high-risk for heart complications due to family history, a doctor may use ECG monitoring as a precautionary measure even in the absence of symptoms.