Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
Not having the electrodes securely attached to
Moving or talking during the
Exercising before the test.
Being anxious or
breathing very deeply or rapidly.
What To Think About
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
abnormalities can be seen only during exercise or while symptoms are present.
To check for these changes in the heartbeat, an ambulatory EKG or stress EKG
may be done.
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. To learn more, see the topic
Electrocardiograms are not recommended for people who are healthy and have no symptoms of heart disease.1
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. To learn more, see Heart Tests: When Do You Need Them?
Other Places To Get Help
American Heart Association (AHA)
7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75231
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
Washington, DC 20005
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.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda, MD 20824-0105
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
(NHLBI) information center offers information and publications about preventing
Diseases affecting the heart and circulation, such as heart
attacks, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, peripheral artery disease, and
heart problems present at birth (congenital heart diseases).
Diseases that affect the lungs, such as asthma, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, sleep apnea, and
Diseases that affect the blood, such as anemia,
hemochromatosis, hemophilia, thalassemia, and von Willebrand disease.