How It Is Done continued...
During an EKG:
- You will lie on a bed or table. Areas on your
arms, legs, and chest where small metal discs (electrodes) will be placed are
cleaned and may be shaved to provide a clean, smooth surface to attach the
electrode discs. A special EKG paste or small pads soaked in alcohol may be
placed between the electrodes and your skin to improve conduction of the
electrical impulses, but in many cases disposable electrodes are used that do
not require paste or alcohol.
- Several electrodes are
attached to the skin on each arm and leg and on your chest. These are hooked to a
machine that traces your heart activity onto a paper. If an older machine is
used, the electrodes may be moved at different times during the test to measure
your heart's electrical activity from different locations on your chest. After
the procedure, the electrode paste is wiped off.
- You will be asked
to lie very still and breathe normally during the test. Sometimes you may be
asked to hold your breath. You should not talk during the test.
usually takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete.
How It Feels
The electrodes may feel cool when they
are put on your chest. If you have a lot of hair on your chest, a small area
may need to be shaved to put the electrodes on. When the electrodes are taken
off, they may pull your skin a little.
There is no chance of problems while having an
electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). An EKG is a completely safe test. In most
cases, there is no reason why you should not be able to get an EKG.
The electrodes are used to transfer an image of the electrical activity
of your heart to tracing on paper. No electricity passes through your body from
the machine, and there is no danger of getting an electrical shock.
An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a
test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. An
EKG translates the heart's electrical activity into line tracings on paper. The spikes and dips in the line tracings are called waves.
Your doctor will look
at the pattern of spikes and dips on your electrocardiogram to check the
electrical activity in different parts of your heart. The spikes and dips are
grouped into different sections that show how your heart is working.
Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) results
| Normal: |
The heart beats in a regular rhythm, usually
between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
The tracing looks normal.
The heart beats too slow (such as less
than 60 beats
The heart beats too fast (such as more than 100 beats per
The heart rhythm is not regular.
The tracing does not look