HomeLab TestEverything You Need to Know About ECG Test

Everything You Need to Know About ECG Test

Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body. Your body needs oxygen to function and it is your heart which ensures that oxygenated blood reaches different organs. However, since your heart carries out such an important function, it is susceptible to wear and tear and other forms of damage. You could develop various kinds of heart-related problems, based on your genetic predisposition or lifestyle. To confirm whether your heart health is as it should be, doctors order different tests. One such test is an electrocardiogram, or ECG. Continue reading to learn more about the ECG test.

 

What Is An ECG Scan?

An ECG is used to check your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity. The test entails attaching sensors to your skin that detect electrical signals that your heart produces every time it beats. Each of these signals are recorded with the help of a machine and a doctor decipherd whether they indicate anything unusual. Usually, a heart specialist or a general physician will prescribe an ECG if they think you have an issue with your heart. You can get an ECG done at a hospital or a clinic.

 

Do note that although the acronyms might be similar, an electrocardiogram is not the same as another test known as an echocardiogram.

 

Use Of An ECG Test

An ECG is usually read along with different tests to either diagnose any condition impacting the heart, or monitor a pre-existing condition. If you experience symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, or dizziness, you might be asked to get an ECG done to get to the cause of these symptoms.

 

Overall, an ECG can assist with the diagnosis of conditions like:

  • Arrhythmias: This is a condition wherein your heart either beats too fast, too slow, or in a manner that is irregular.
  • Coronary Heart Disease: This is a condition wherein your heart’s supply of blood is interrupted due to a collection of fatty substances.
  • Heart Attacks: Here, the blood supply to the heart that it requires to function is blocked abruptly.
  • Cardiomyopathy: Here, your heart’s walls thicken or get enlarged.
    Apart from helping diagnose illnesses, a series of ECGs might be required over a period of time to help monitor the progress of a heart condition and to check how effective treatment is.

 

What are the Different Types of ECGs?

ECG is an umbrella term encompassing 3 main types of tests as follows:

  • Resting ECG: This kind of ECG is carried out when you are laying down in a position that is comfortable.
  • Stress/exercise ECG: During this test, ECG is conducted while you are using exercise equipment like a treadmill or a workout bike.
  • Ambulatory EGC: Also known as a Holter monitor, in this test, sensors known as electrodes are connected to a tiny portable machine that is attached to your waist so you can monitor your heart for a couple of days while you are at home.

 

The type of ECG you are prescribed depends on the kinds of symptoms you are showing and the condition your doctor suspects you have. For instance, if your symptoms manifest when you are engaged in physical activity then you might be asked to get an exercise ECG. On the other hand, if your symptoms are not predictable and show up at random times for brief periods, then you might be asked to get an ambulatory ECG.

 

Today, you can also get devices with sensors that you can attach to your fingers to get a reading of your heart’s rhythm. You can keep a track of the results on an application on your phone or tablet. This method is mostly recommended to those who might be dealing with atrial fibrillation.

 

How Is An ECG Conducted?

An ECG can be carried out in multiple ways. Usually, the test entails attaching several small and sticky sensors known as electrodes to your arms, legs, and chest. These sensors are connected to an ECG recording machine via wires.

 

There is no preparation required prior to getting an ECG done. You can even eat and drink as you would normally. However, since the electrodes have to be attached to your chest, you might have to take off your top or clothing. So, it is best to wear clothing that can be easily removed. Additionally, you might have to shave your chest to help the ECG get an accurate read. Once the electrodes are attached, you might be provided with a hospital gown to make the experience more comfortable for you.

 

How Are The Results Of An ECG Read?

Overall, the test lasts only a few minutes. As soon as it is over, you can go home or return to your hospital room.
As far as the results of an ECG are concerned, the rhythm and electrical activity taking place in your heart is shown in the form of a graph that is displayed electronically and printed on a sheet of paper. If you have been asked to opt for an ambulatory ECG, your results will be stored electronically in the form of data that your doctor can access when the test is considered to be complete.

 

Do note that you might not receive the results of your ECG the very moment you complete the test. The recording is analysed by and interpreted by a doctor or specialist to check if there is an underlying condition. Additionally, you might be required to undergo other tests for a doctor to be able to gauge if you have a problem. You might need to visit your doctor after getting the ECG done to discuss the findings.

 

All in all, an ECG is a safe procedure and causes no pain. Although the name might mislead you, there is no electricity put into your body while it is carried out. At the most, you might experience a little discomfort when the attached electrodes are taken off from your skin. If you have sensitive skin, you might develop a mild type of rash where the electrodes were attached. Plus, since the test is performed in presence of either a doctor or a specially trained technician, you are in safe hands.

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Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

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