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Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) continued...

This is how it works: Just as with a regular ECG, the doctor or other health care provider attaches small electrodes to your chest. Wires connect these electrodes to a small, portable recorder. You keep the recorder with you by doing one of three things:

  • Clipping it to a belt
  • Keeping it in a pocket
  • Hanging it around your neck

Then you just go about your day-to-day activities. There's no need to do anything differently.

Event monitors. Event monitors work similarly to a Holter monitor. But you may have an event monitor for as long as 1 to 2 months -- as long as needed to record the abnormal heart rhythm. Also, an event monitor doesn't record continuously. It only records your heart's activity at certain times. You might have an event monitor that records only when it senses an abnormal heart rhythm. Or you might need to push a button on a monitor when you feel symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Racing heart or fluttering

The monitor stores the heart rhythm information. When you are able, you may transmit the ECG by phone to your cardiologist. Do this as often as you are told to.

Stress Test

A stress test is just what it sounds like: It is a test that puts extra stress on your heart to see how it responds to working hard and beating fast. You can make your heart work harder by exercising. You might ride a stationary bicycle or walk or run on a treadmill. This is why it is sometimes called a treadmill test. If you are unable to exercise, you can take a special medicine instead that makes your heart work harder. Heart tests then check how your heart does under stress.

Echocardiogram

This test creates a moving picture of your heart with sound waves. Echo provides information about:

  • The size and shape of the heart
  • How well heart chambers and valves are working
  • Areas of poor blood flow
  • Areas where heart muscle isn't contracting the right way
  • Any previous injury to the heart from poor blood flow

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