Electrocardiogram (ECG OR EKG): ECG Test Procedure, Types & Results
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Electrocardiogram (ECG OR EKG): Procedure, Types and Results

Electrocardiogram (ECG OR EKG)

An electrocardiogram is a test that measures how your heart is functioning by measuring the electrical activity of the heart. Each heartbeat is stimulated by an electrical impulse or wave that starts at the top of the heart and travels to the bottom. This wave causes the heart muscle to squeeze and pump the blood from the heart. Heart problems imbalance the electrical activity of the heart.
ECG measures and records these electrical activities that pass through the heart. Doctors determine if these electrical waves are regular or irregular. An ECG may be recommended if a person is experiencing chest pain, arrhythmia, and other heart conditions.

What Does an ECG Test For?

An electrocardiogram is a painless, non-invasive tool to help diagnose many heart problems in people of all age group. A doctor may recommend ECG in the following cases:

  • To detect abnormal heart rhythms.
  • To detect heart problems that include ongoing heart attack, coronary artery blockage, abnormal heart rhythms, enlargement of heart, any inflammation, etc.

  • Monitor recovery of heart attack, the effectiveness of heart medications, or pacemakers.

  • Detect non-heart conditions such as lung diseases or electrolyte imbalances.

  • Rule out hidden heart disease in patients prior to heart surgery.

Individuals may need heart rhythm test if they are experiencing the following signs and symptoms:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Speedy pulse
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness, light-headedness
  • Weakness, fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

Types of ECG (Electrocardiogram)

1. Stress Test

Few heart problems appear while a person is exercising. During a stress test, the ECG test is conducted while someone is exercising. Typically this test is done on a treadmill or stationary bicycle.

2. Holter Monitor

Also known as ambulatory ECG, a Holter monitor is a small wearable machine that records a continuous activity of the heartbeat, typically for 24 to 48 hours. Electrodes attached to the patient’s chest records information on a mobile or battery-operated monitor that can be carried out in the pocket, on the belt or shoulder strap. While wearing this monitor, people can resume their normal activities.

The doctor will ask the patient to maintain a diary of what they were doing while symptoms occur and at what time. The doctor will compare the diary with the electrical recordings to figure out the cause of symptoms.

3. Event Monitor

If the symptoms do not occur frequently, the doctor may suggest a patient wear an event monitor/recorder. This is a transportable device similar to a Holter monitor, but it records only at definitive times for a few minutes at a time. An individual can wear it for a longer time duration than a Holter monitor, typically one month.

Event monitors can be activated by pressing a record button when a person experiences symptoms or fast heart rate.

4. Implantable Loop Recorder

This is a continuous heart rhythm monitoring machine. Similarly to a Holter monitor, it records heart rhythms continuously, but for a more extended period. It is inserted under the skin in the chest area during a minor surgery and can be left in place for almost three years.

How ECG Works?

Each heartbeat is activated by an electrical impulse that is generated from specialized cells in the heart (pacemaker cells), in the upper right heart’s chamber. An ECG records the strength and duration of these signals as they travel through the heart.

The ECG test usually consists of 12-15 electrodes so that it can be attached in different body parts (including chest, legs, and arms) to gather information from various areas. The electrical activity is recorded as waves on a graph with various patterns corresponding to each electrical phase of the heartbeat.

Procedure of ECG (Electrocardiogram)

ECG is a quick, painless, and harmless test. The test requires no special preparation. The patient might be asked to change into a gown. A technician attaches 12 to 15 soft electrodes with a gel to the areas such as chest, arms, and legs. The technician may have to shave some hair to ensure the electrodes stick properly to the patient’s skin. The electrodes are attached to electrical leads/wires, which are then attached to the ECG machine.

ECG Results

Doctors will analyse for consistent, uniform heart rhythm and average heart rate. Having irregular heartbeats can signify hearts issues such as:

  • Heart Rate: An ECG can help to measure heart rate and if the pulse is difficult to feel or too uneven to measure accurate readings. An ECG helps the doctors to identify a fast heart rate (tachycardia) or slow heart rate (bradycardia).

  • Heart Rhythm: ECG can show irregularities of heart rhythm (arrhythmias). Arrhythmias are results of malfunctioning of the heart’s electrical system.

  • Heart Attack: An ECG can provide information about a previous heart attack or upcoming heart attack. The pattern recorded on ECG may indicate which part of the heart is damaged.

  • Structural Abnormalities: An ECG provide information about the enlargement of the heart’s chambers, any heart defects, and heart problems.

Note: Always consult your physician before any tests.

Diagnostics and Pathology Tests Available At House of Diagnostics (HOD).



  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ekg/about/pac-20384983
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/electrocardiogram#types
  • https://www.heartandstroke.ca/heart/tests/electrocardiogram


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Electrocardiogram (ECG OR  EKG):  ECG Test Procedure, Types & Results
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Electrocardiogram (ECG OR EKG): ECG Test Procedure, Types & Results
Electrocardiogram(ECG) also known as the EKG test. Read ECG procedure, types and results here. The resting ECG is different from stress or exercise ECG or cardiac imaging test. You may need an ECG test if you have risk factors for heart disease.
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