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Everything You Must Know Before Getting an Electrocardiogram


Heart tests are generally conducted to examine the function of your heart. They are highly useful in detecting what kind of heart problems you have. A commonly administered heart test in the medical field is electrocardiogram (ECG). This test is conducted for a number of reasons including to find out whether you are suffering from a heart attack or angina. If you are getting an electrocardiogram, it is important for you to be briefed about the test before you get your heart scanned. So, here are some essentials you need to need to know about this exam.

When Should I Take this Test?

You cannot take an electrocardiogram whenever you want. If you want the physician to monitor and analyse your QRS ECG, then you need to be experiencing certain symptoms. In order to qualify for this exam, you must experience pain in the chest, trouble breathing and weakness. You also need to feel a pounding heart and uneven heartbeats.

What does it do?

An electrocardiogram is mainly conducted for three main purposes. A physician might conduct this exam to check your heart’s electrical system and your heart rhythm. This exam is also administered to find out if you are suffering from a heart attack or angina. Moreover, an ECG can be conducted to see the condition of your pacemaker or any other device implanted in your heart.

How does it Work?

This examination is a quick and painless one. Once you get into the gown, the doctor will attach 12-15 electrodes on your chest, arms and legs. It is important to note that the physician might shave specific areas of your body to stick the electrodes properly. These electrodes will be no larger than a quarter and will be attached to the ECG machine. During the procedure, the machine will record the electrical activity of the heart, while the information will be transferred onto a graph. It is important for you to remain still and calm during the procedure. The entire process will approximately take 10 minutes.

What are the Types?

Depending on the condition you are suffering from, the type of ECG you require might differ. Since certain heart problems can appear and disappear, you will need strong and consistent monitoring. For example, stress tests are conducted in order to find heart problems that occur while exercising. In the same way, a Holter Monitor is used to examine your heart for 24-48 hours continuously. This portable monitor is attached to find out what kind of symptoms you are suffering from.

What are the Risks?

Since ECG is a non-invasive procedure, it includes a very few risks. In some cases, it is possible for individuals to experience skin rashes in places where the electrodes have been placed. However, there is no need to worry as this side effect only lasts for about a day or two. Apart from this, you are highly unlikely to experience any other risks due to an electrocardiogram.

How to Get Ready?

Before the examination, you must avoid drinking cold water. Consuming cold water can lead to changes to your electrical patterns and therefore interfere with the results. Furthermore, you must also refrain from exercising as it can increase your heart rate and sabotage the test records.

It is important for you to clear all your queries about this test before go into the examination room. So, make sure to speak to the physician well ahead to clarify any remaining doubts.


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