Undergoing an electrocardiogram (EKG) can be very frightening for a patient. This is a large word and many people are simply not aware of what the term means exactly so it can be very frightening. Most people are aware that an EKG is related to the heart and this can make a patient even more worried. Understanding what is involved in an EKG can do a great deal to help a patient to relax.
An EKG is essentially a graph that charts the contractions and relaxations of the heart. As your heart contracts and relaxes the muscles in your heart emit an electrical current. When you undergo an EKG these currents are charted. The electrical currents are displayed on a monitor and also recorded so that they can be printed out for further examination. These graphs may seem complex to the untrained staff but medical personnel who have been trained to read these graphs can interpret these graphs in a way that is very useful. They use these graphs to detect abnormalities in the way that the heart is functioning.
EKGs most often take place in critical care facilities or telemetry units of hospitals. They can also be administered anywhere else where monitoring the function of the heart may be important. An example of one of these locations may be the medical tent of a marathon or triathlon. Here athletes often push themselves beyond their limits and it may be necessary to administer EKGs on athletes who experience chest pain.
EKGs are not capable of predicting future problems but they can serve other purposes. An EKGs can determine if a patient is currently having a heart attack, they can determine if a patient has scar tissue from a previous heart attach or they can detect other types of damage to the heart as well as abnormalities in the function of the heart. The results of the EKG are examined by qualified medical professionals who will advise the patient on future care and medications that may be required.
Those who are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack may be referred to an EKG specialist. These symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or heart palpitations. If your doctor believes the situation may be life threatening and that you are possibly in the midst of a heart attack you may be sent immediately to an emergency room to undergo an EKG. However, if your doctor does not believe that you are in a life-threatening situation but is concerned about the health of your heart, they may recommend making an appointment for an EKG in the near future.
Although many people may be scared to undergo an EKG, it really is simple, non-intrusive procedure. During an EKG, the patient lies face up on an examination table and electrodes are placed on their body. The location of the electrodes is carefully placed to record the heart functions. The electrodes send the electronic pulses emitted from the heart to the EKG machine. The machine displays the information and also records it for future printing and evolution. The whole procedure usually only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish and is completely painless for the patient.
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