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What Is an ECG, and How Does It Work?

Your heart is one of the most important organs in the body, so heart problems can be serious and potentially fatal. As such, the ability to measure the health of your heart and check for heart problems is valued among doctors today. One way that medical professionals can evaluate the health of your heart is with an ECG. 

Let’s learn more about ECGs and how they can be used to monitor your heart health effectively. 

What Is an ECG?

ECG stands for electrocardiogram and may also be referred to as EKG. It’s a non-invasive, painless test used to check for indicators of heart disease.

How Does It Work?

During an ECG, small electrode patches are secured to the skin on the arms, legs, and chest. These patches then record the heart’s electrical activity,  providing data on your heart rhythm and any abnormalities affecting the heart. The information collected during the test is recorded by a computer and expressed on a monitor as waves. 

Types of ECGs

The Holter monitor and event monitor are two different ECG types that may be recommended in other circumstances. 

  • The Holter monitor is a wearable device that records an ECG steadily over 24 to 48 hours. 
  • The event monitor is a portable device that records for a few minutes at specific times. It’s generally worn for 30 days, with a button to push when symptoms are experienced. 

When Are ECGs Performed?

An ECG is commonly performed to diagnose heart problems, such as:

  • Arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms
  • Chest pain or heart attack as a result of coronary artery disease
  • Previous heart attack

ECGs can also be used to detect the effectiveness of some treatments for heart disease, like a pacemaker. 

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms that could be linked to a heart problem, your doctor may recommend an ECG:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid pulse
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or weakness

Your doctor may also suggest an ECG if you have a family history of heart disease, even in the absence of symptoms. 

If you have questions or concerns about your heart health, contact Florida Wellness Medical Group today for primary care treatment.