If a doctor suspects that your heart is having issues, they may recommend that you get an electrocardiogram, which is usually referred to either an EKG or ECG. This test is meant to record the electrical signals being sent out when your heart is beating, and the test can detect multiple kinds of heart problems.
How Is the ECG/EKG Done?
The EKG or ECG is typically performed in a doctor’s office, hospital, or medical clinic. The procedure involves using an ECG monitor or EKG monitor, which is a machine that has a series of electrodes that get attached to points along your chest and body to monitor blood flow.
A portable EKG monitor, which is often referred to as a Holter monitor, is also another method of obtaining readings of the electrical signals of the heart. This monitor is attached to you by a medical professional at a doctor’s office or hospital, and you wear the device for a certain span of time (usually 24 to 48 hours) to record information that will later be reviewed by a doctor.
Why a Doctor May Recommend You Be Tested with an EKG or ECG Monitor
There are multiple situations when a doctor may want you to be tested with an EKG or ECG monitor, including if:
- You have been experiencing heart palpitations
- You have previously had a heart attack or heart condition
- You are experiencing a fast or irregular heartbeat
- You are dealing with shortness of breath
- You’ve experienced dizziness, have been feeling lightheaded, or have been disoriented
What Can an ECG or EKG Monitor Find Out About Your Heart?
Once the EKG or ECG monitor is removed, your doctor will either discuss the readings with you at that time or at a followup appointment. These tests are highly valuable because they can diagnose a range of issues with the heart, such as:
- Arrhythmias, which are irregularities in how your heart beats
- Heart chamber issues, such as deformities in their shape or size
- Signs that you have had a previously undiagnosed heart attack
- Blocked or constricted heart arteries that are causing chest pain
An EKG monitor may also be prescribed if the doctor wants to check how well your heart is function if you are undergoing certain medical treatments. For example, if you have recently had a pacemaker put in or have started a new medication, you may need an EKG to monitor progress with the new treatment.
How Does the EKG Monitor Detect Problems with Your Heart?
The EKG or ECG is one of the safest and simplest ways to detect problems with the heart. The sensors that are placed on your body are going to be detecting the electronic impulses that your heart is receiving that make it beat. These impulses are recorded on a recording device as a visual image or displayed on a screen for the practitioner to see as they perform the test.
A trained professional can recognize discrepancies in the waves that are recorded. For example, if the waves are shallow and irregular, it can mean that you are not getting proper electronic impulses and your heart will beat at an irregular pace. If the wavelengths recorded are irregular or not as they should be, it can mean there is something going on with the amount of oxygen your heart is getting, that you have had a prior heart attack, or there is something else going on that needs to be checked out.
Overall, the ECG or EKG monitor can be one of the most effective ways to detect an issue with the cardiovascular system. Reach out to your doctor for more information about how to diagnose heart issues with an EKG or ECG monitor.