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Electrocardiogram

An EKG (electrocardiogram or ECG) is a medical test that records the electrical activity of the heart. It is a non-invasive and painless procedure that is typically performed by a specially trained technician.

During an EKG, small electrodes are placed on the patient's chest, arms, and legs. These electrodes detect the electrical signals generated by the heart and transmit them to a machine, which produces a graph of the heart's electrical activity.

 

The length of time an EKG takes is very short, usually only a few minutes.

Most people do not experience pain during an EKG. However, some people may experience mild discomfort from the adhesive used to attach the electrodes to their skin.

Common diagnoses made by an EKG include:

  • Abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, or bradycardia.

  • Heart attack, by detecting changes in the heart's electrical activity that indicate damage to the heart muscle.

  • Enlargement of the heart, by measuring the size of the heart's chambers.

  • Congenital heart defects, by detecting abnormalities in the heart's electrical activity.

  • Blocked or narrowed blood vessels in the heart, by detecting changes in the heart's electrical activity that indicate reduced blood flow to the heart muscle.

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