Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
What is it?
An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a non-invasive test that measures the electrical activity of the heartbeats. An electrical impulse travels through the heart with each beat. This impulse causes the heart muscle to squeeze and pump blood. A electrocardiographic machine detects these impulses and records them in the form of waves.
This test allows the doctors to evaluate the regularity of the patient's heart rhythm or abnormality, if any.
Why is it done?
An ECG gives two major kinds of information. First, by measuring time intervals on the ECG, a doctor can determine how long the electrical wave takes to pass through the heart. Finding out how long a wave takes to travel from one part of the heart to the next shows if the electrical activity is normal or slow, fast or irregular. Second, by measuring the amount of electrical activity passing through the heart muscle, a cardiologist may be able to find out if parts of the heart are too large or are overworked.
Does it hurt?
No. There’s no pain or risk associated with having an electrocardiogram. When the ECG stickers are removed, there may be some minor discomfort.
Is it harmful?