An electrocardiogram (EKG) or (ECG) is graphic measurement of the electrical voltage of the heart.¬† Healthcare specialists use EKGs to assess heartbeat rates, heart disease, blood blockage, and non-cardiac diseases.¬† For diagnostic purposes, approximately twelve to fifteen leads are attached to a patient‚Äôs arms, legs, and chest.¬† Each lead measures the electrical activity of a particular area of the heart.¬† The summation of the voltage potential between the leads is recorded on a continuous strip of graph paper that is interpreted by healthcare specialists.¬† EKGs that are used for monitoring purposes may use between three and five leads.¬† The EKG or ECG procedure is painless and safe as the equipment does not send electricity to the patient; it only measures the electrical impulse of the heart.¬†
Candidates for Electrocardiogram
Healthcare providers use EKGs to diagnose, screen, or monitor not only heart problems, but they also use them to monitor diseases and conditions not normally associated with heart issues such as anorexia nervosa, complicated alcohol abstinence, narcolepsy, and type two diabetes.¬† An EKG or ECG cannot measure the performance of the contraction of the cardiac heart muscle in patients.¬† It is common for healthcare patients to be given more than one EKG as the test accuracy is affected by conditions such as body movements, effects of medication, or weak electrical imprints of heart impulses that are difficult for the lead to measure during a test.¬†
Prior to taking an electrocardiogram, some patients may need to shave off small areas of hair where the leads will be attached.¬† There are no special dietary requirements.¬† Typically, a lead is placed on both arms and legs as well as on the chest.¬† The patient should be relaxed and quiet as body movements (even shivering) will change the results on the graph.¬† During the test, the healthcare providers may ask the patient to exercise or change breathing patterns. The EKG procedure is painless; however, some patients develop a rash where the lead patches adhered to their skin.