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5 Cool Facts About EKG's

An electrocardiogram, often referred to as an EKG or ECG, is a lot less intimidating than it may sound. An EKG is simply a test of your heartbeat. Every time your heart beats, an electric wave travels through the heart, which causes it to pump blood.

Tue Mar 05 2013By Jonathan Payne

An electrocardiograph machine, often referred to as an EKG or ECG, is a lot less intimidating than it may sound. An EKG is simply a test of your heartbeat. Every time your heart beats, an electric wave travels through the heart, which causes it to pump blood. Conducting an electrocardiograph allows doctors to use information about your heart's electrical activity to determine the condition of your heart.

Here are 5 cool facts about EKG’s

1: Portable

A Holter monitor can be slipped into a pocket or worn around the neck or waist; it provides continual monitoring for 24 to 48 hours. If you're wearing an event monitor, sometimes called an ambulatory EKG, you control when it takes information. If you always get short of breath when you're trying to fall asleep, you could push a button when you start experiencing symptoms, and doctors will get a snapshot of how your heart is acting when you can't breathe.

2: Informative

By measuring the intervals between the heart's electrical impulses, a doctor can determine if your heartbeat is regular or irregular. Also, by measuring the strength of each electrical impulse, the doctor can determine if your heart is working too hard or not hard enough in some cases. These two metrics can indicate several types of heart damage, including:

  • Arrhythmia
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Heart valve disease
  • Pericarditis (an inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart)
  • Hypertrophy of the heart chamber walls or blood vessels
  • Heart failure

Remember that diagnosis is the first step to treatment.

3: You Can Get to the Bottom of Scary Symptoms

It's possible your doctor may ask for an EKG when you're completely fine in order to have baseline data to use later on. If you've begun taking new medications or had a pacemaker implanted, the doctor may want to see how those things are affecting your heart.

Many times, though, an EKG is ordered when a patient complains of chest pain or other symptoms of heart disease, including shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness or palpitations. Oftentimes, people will ignore such symptoms because they're scared of what the doctor will say. Rather than living with the fact that your heart pounds, races or flutters, it's best to submit to the EKG and find out what's really going on.

4: They're Simple and Painless

It may sound risky to have electricity and your heart in such close proximity, but it's not. That's how your heart works, and an EKG machine doesn't send any electricity through your body. An EKG merely measures the electricity already in your heart. The test is not painful. The only risk of physical hurt may be when they remove the stickers holding the electrodes to your chest similar to removing a band aid. Otherwise, all you'll need to do is show up and lie still on an examining table (one exception: If a doctor calls for a stress EKG, you may need to perform a little exercise). The test should be over in five to 10 minutes, and you'll likely have results almost instantaneously.  Easy enough, right?

5: An EKG is Like a Record Contract for Your Heart

Your heart is like an electric musical instrument, and those electric impulses determine your heart's rhythm. By placing electrodes on your chest and hooking you up to the machine, a doctor can record your heart’s electrical performance.

By recording your heart's electrical activity, doctors will be able to determine if the rhythm of your heart is irregular or inadequate.

Need to purchase a new Electrocardiograph machine?  Visit Mortara today!

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