Is An EKG Cardiovascular Test Looking For?
If you're experiencing dizziness, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, or palpitations your doctor may suggest that you have an electrocardiogram. This cardiovascular test, abbreviated as EKG or ECG* is a non-invasive test typically performed in your doctor's office and measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat.
How Is an Electrocardiogram Conducted?
No special patient preparation is required for an EKG test. During the test, you will lie on an exam table and a technician will place several small sensors on your chest, arms and legs. These sensors have wires called leads which connect to the electrocardiogram machine. They create a 3D map of your heart's natural electrical rhythms, which can immediately show whether you have any unusual heart activity. The sensors don't deliver any electrical current; they only record your body's own natural heart rhythms. The test lasts for six seconds, and the results are printed out and can be interpreted immediately. What an EKG Is Looking For
This test primarily checks the rhythmic behavior of different chambers of your heart. By measuring the time interval of the ECG a doctor can determine how long it is taking an electrical wave to pass through your heart. This shows if the activity is normal, fast, slow or irregular. It also measures the amount of electrical activity passing through the heart which helps your cardiologist find out if your heart is enlarged or is overworked.
Tell the story of Your Heart
EKG can help physicians diagnose a real-time emergency, such as a
heart attack in progress, but it can also help detect patterns that
emerge over time. For example, if you have high blood pressure, the
EKG may show that your heart has become enlarged due to the extra
work of pumping blood under higher pressure. EKGs can also detect
when the electrolyte levels in your blood are too high or too low, as
those variations change the heart's conductivity. Finally, the test
can identify changes in your heart that occurred as a result of a
past heart attack. This is important because some people may have had
a heart attack without their knowledge and the EKG can show the
presence of cardiac damage that requires treatment Additional
In some cases, especially if you have intermittent symptoms, a. six-second snapshot of heart activity doesn't provide enough information. Small portable EKG machines (called "Holter Monitor”) can be carried in a bag or backpack and provide a continuous record over the course of 24 hours. During such a test period, you can do almost anything you normally would, except for bathing or showering.
is an echocardiogram?
echocardiogram (echo) is a test that uses high frequency sound waves
(ultrasound) to make pictures of your hear. The test is also called
echocardiography or diagnostic cardiac ultrasound.
do people need an echo test?
doctor may use an echo test to look at your heart’s structure and
check how well you heart functions. The test helps doctors find out:
are the Risks?
size and shape of your heart, and the size, thickness and movement of
your heart’s walls
your heart moves
heart’s pumping strength
the heart valves are working correctly
blood is leaking backwards through your hearts valves
the heart valves are too narrow
there is a tumor or infectious growth around your heart valves
test also helps your doctor find out if there are:
with the outer lining of your heart
with the large blood vessels that enter and leave the heart
clots in the chambers of you heart
holes between the chambers of the heart
echo can’t harm you
echo doesn’t hurt and has no side effects
is a Holter monitor?
Holter monitor is a device commonly used to keep track of your heart
doctor can use a Holter monitor to keep track of your heart function
if you're having heart problems or they think there may be a problem.
sure to engage in your normal activities and keep the Holter monitor
dry while your heart is being monitored. Your doctor will remove the
monitor when testing is finished and carefully go over your results
to determine the next step.
Holter monitor is a small, battery-powered medical device that
measures your heart's activity, such as rate and rhythm. Your doctor
may ask you to use one if they need more information about how your
heart functions than a routine EKG can give them.
hour Holter monitoring is a continuous test to record your heart's
rate and rhythm for 24 hours. You wear the Holter monitor for 12 to
48 hours as you go about your normal daily routine. This device has
electrodes and electrical leads exactly like a regular EKG but it has
fewer leads. It can pick up not only your heart's rate and rhythm but
also when you feel chest pains or exhibit symptoms of an irregular
heartbeat, or arrhythmia.
monitor testing is also sometimes called ambulatory
electrocardiography. There are other types of devices that can be
used to measure heart activity for longer periods of time.
for Holter monitoring
EKG is a medical test that's used to measure your heart rate and
rhythm. It's also used to look for other abnormalities that may
affect normal heart function. During an EKG electrodes are placed on
your chest to check your heart's rhythm, You may experience heart
rhythm irregularities that don't show up at the time the EKG is done
because you're only hooked up to the machine for a very brief amount
heart rhythms and other types of cardiac symptoms can come and go.
Monitoring for a longer period of time is necessary to record these
events. The Holter monitor lets your doctor see how your heart
functions on a long-term basis. The recordings made by the monitor
help your doctor determine if your heart is getting enough oxygen or
if the electrical impulses in the heart are delayed or early. These
irregular impulses may be referred to as arrhythmias or abnormal
you're already being treated for heart problems, wearing your monitor
can help your doctor determine if your medicine is working or if
changes need to be made. It can also help them to see why you might
be experiencing other symptoms of irregular heartbeat, such as
dizziness, fainting, or feeling like your heart is racing or skipping
Holter monitor is small. It's slightly larger than a deck of playing
cards. Several leads, or wires, are attached to the monitor. The
leads connect to electrodes that are placed on the skin of your chest
with a glue-like gel. The metal electrodes conduct your heart's
activity through the wires and into the Holter monitor, where it's
wear a small pouch around your neck that holds the monitor itself.
It's important to keep the monitor close to your body during the
testing period to make sure the readings are accurate. Your doctor
will show you how to reattach electrodes if they become loose or fall
off during the testing period.
get instructions that explain how to take care of your monitor and
what not to do while you're wearing it. It's important to avoid
bathing, showering, and swimming while you're wearing the monitor.
encouraged to participate in your normal activities during the
24-hour Holter test. You'll be directed to attach your monitor if
you're allergic to any tapes or adhesives.
24-hour Holter monitor test is painless. However, be sure to record
any chest pain, rapid heartbeat, or other cardiac symptoms you have
during the testing period.