An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) measures the electrical activity of your heart. The heart generates electrical signal which flows out from your heart through your body. Small electrical sensors, called electrodes, are put on your skin to sense the electricity that began in your heart. The electrical activity is then turned into a graph. This can give doctors an idea of whether your heart is beating normally.
Are about to have surgery with
general anesthesia—to detect heart conditions that could worsen during surgery and put you at risk
Are in occupations that stress the heart or where public safety is a concern
Are an older adult or have diabetes—to obtain a record to compare with future ECGs
Already have heart disease—to check occasionally for any changes
Have had a heart-related procedure, such as getting a
What to Expect
Prior to Test
Have a physical exam and be asked about your medical history
Have your chest shaved if needed
Description of Test
You will be asked to lie quietly on your back with your shirt off. Six small, sticky pads with attached wires will be placed across your chest. Others will be placed on your arms and legs. The wires will connect to the ECG machine. You will not feel anything during the test.
You may resume activities as recommended by your doctor.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Your doctor will interpret the ECG. Based on the results and your other health information, you may need more tests or a treatment plan.
Call Your Doctor
After the test, call your doctor if you have heart-related symptoms, like chest pain or trouble breathing.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a