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Electrocardiogram

Risks

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.

Results

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 camera.gif 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.

Abnormal:

The heart beats too slow (such as less

than 60 beats per minute).

The heart beats too fast (such as more than 100 beats per minute).

The heart rhythm is not regular.

The tracing does not look normal.

 

What Affects the Test

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 your skin.
  • Moving or talking during the test.
  • Exercising before the test.
  • Being anxious or breathing very deeply or rapidly.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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