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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Tests and Exams > ECG
      Category : Health Centers > Heart Diseases


Alternate Names : EKG, Electrocardiogram

Overview & Description | Preparation & Expectations | Results and Values

An electrocardiogram, also called an ECG or EKG, is a graphic record of the heart's electrical activity. Healthcare providers use it to help diagnose heart disease. They can also use it to monitor how well different heart medications are working.

Who is a candidate for the test?

An ECG is done on a person to help diagnose heart disease. It may also be used to monitor how well different heart medications are working. Persons coming into the emergency room with chest pain, shortness of breath will have an ECG performed. An ECG may be necessary prior to a person having major surgery as a baseline tracing.

How is the test performed?

A person can have an ECG while either lying down or exercising on a treadmill. A technician will use an adhesive to attach from 12 to approximately 15 electrodes at specific sites on the skin. These sites are selected on both arms and on the chest. The sites will be cleaned and perhaps shaved before the electrodes are attached. A machine then records the electrical activity of the heart under conditions a doctor has specified. An ECG usually takes about 5 minutes to perform.


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ECG: Preparation & Expectations

Author: David T. Moran, MD
Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
Date Reviewed: 07/24/01

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