Sometimes your EKG may look normal even when
you have heart disease. For this reason, the EKG should always be interpreted
along with your symptoms, past health, physical examination, and, if necessary,
other test results.
An electrocardiogram cannot predict whether you
will have a
At first, an EKG done
during a heart attack may look normal or unchanged from a previous EKG. So the
EKG may be repeated over several hours and days (called serial EKGs) to look
A stress EKG
is a type of EKG done during exercise. A resting EKG is always done before an
exercise EKG test, and results of the resting EKG are compared to the results
of the exercise EKG. A resting EKG may also show a heart problem that would
make an exercise EKG unsafe. For more information, see the topic
Some doctors think that people older than age 35
need a baseline EKG before problems develop. This baseline EKG may be compared
to later EKGs to see if changes have occurred. But a baseline EKG is expensive
and may not be covered by insurance. Baseline EKGs may be most useful in people
who have other conditions or diseases that increase their chances of having
Sometimes doctors automatically schedule routine tests because they think that's what patients expect. But experts say routine heart tests can be a waste of time and money. For more information, see Heart Tests: When Do You Need Them?
Other Places To Get Help
American Heart Association (AHA)
7272 Greenville Avenue
Visit the American Heart Association (AHA) website for information on
physical activity, diet, and various heart-related conditions. You can search for information on heart disease and stroke, share information with friends and family, and use tools to help you make heart-healthy goals and plans. Contact the AHA to find your
nearest local or state AHA group. The AHA provides brochures and information
about support groups and community programs, including Mended Hearts, a
nationwide organization whose members visit people with heart problems and
provide information and support.
Heart Rhythm Society
1400 K Street NW
The Heart Rhythm Society provides information for
patients and the public about heart rhythm problems. The website includes a
section that focuses on patient information. This information includes causes,
prevention, tests, treatment, and patient stories about heart rhythm problems.
You can use the Find a Specialist section of the website to search for a heart
rhythm specialist practicing in your area.