An electrocardiogram or an ECG records the electrical activity of the heart at rest. It provides information about heart rate and rhythm, and shows presence conditions like hypertension, previous heart attacks, abnormalities such as thickened heart muscle and significant electrolyte abnormalities. It's a test that uses the ECG recording system to record the electrical activity of the heart through small electrode patches that a technician attaches to the skin of your chest, arms, and legs.
Although ECG records not show asymptomatic blockages in your heart arteries or predict a future heart attack. The resting ECG test is different from a stress or exercise ECG test or cardiac imaging test. An ECG test is required if there is presence of risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, palpitations, chest pain or an already existing heart disease.
No special preparations are necessary for a standard ECG test. Medications and supplements should be considered as they can often affect the results. Avoid oily lotions or full length clothing on the day of the ECG test. An ECG test can be done in a hospital by a nurse or technician. A total of 10 electrodes with adhesive pads will be attached to the skin of your chest, arms, and legs. The ECG recording system leads to a computer creating a picture, on graph paper, of the electrical impulses that move through your heart. This is called a resting ECG, also used to check heart activity during exercise. The attaching of the electrodes and completion of the test takes about 10 minutes. Patterns formed by the ECG recording system are then interpreted and assessed for further treatment action.
The ECG records help measure the heart rate, especially in cases of a heart rate irregular enough to not be calculated manually via checking the pulse. This would include conditions like bradycardia and tachycardia. Heart rhythm irregularities, meaning various arrhythmias that imply a malfunctioning in the heart’s electrical system can be diagnosed as well. A previous heart attack or a heart attack in progress along with structural abnormalities can also be recognised by an ECG recording system.
If your ECG records are normal, no further tests may be required. If the results show any abnormalities, further diagnostic tests including another ECG test may be needed. Treatment protocol depends on the root cause of your condition and symptoms as per the ECG recording system. It’s essential to keep a routine check on the heart’s condition especially in occasion of a pre-existing heart condition.
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