If you have been experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath,
dizziness or heart palpitations you are
likely be referred for an electrocardiogram
(EKG) by your doctor. An EKG
is a quick and safe way to determine if
a heart attack is occurring. If your doctor
thinks your symptoms are life threatening,
you will most likely be referred to the
nearest Emergency Room for further evaluation.
If your doctor does not think your symptoms
indicate a life-threatening situation, you
may be asked to make an appointment with
an EKG specialist for further observation.
An EKG is a very simple and painless procedure.
Patients are instructed to lie face up on
an examination table while electrodes are
strategically placed at various points on
their body. The electrodes are attached
to cables and the cables are attached to
the EKG machine. The electrodes send electronic
impulses to the machine and results in a
printed graph, which is a picture of your
heart function. The procedure
usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes but
may require a longer visit if the technician
needs additional testing data. A stress
test is a normal EKG procedure that requires
the patient perform moderate exercise while
recording heart rhythms
Most EKGs are performed in a critical care
facility, telemetry or any place that a
particular patient needs to be monitored.
EKGs can help your doctor determine the
status of your heart health. By graphing
the electrical impulses of the heart, doctors
and other trained medical staff are able
to see the presence of any abnormalities.
The EKG recording often reveals the scars
of past heart attacks and other heart damage.
Although the test cannot predict future
heart attacks or other heart problems, a
combination of family history and additional
examinations may give your doctor a good
idea of what to expect.