What is an electrocardiogram?
The electrocardiogram is a diagnostic test that records and graphically displays the electrical activity of the heart. By monitoring the blood flow that runs through the heart as well as the heart contractions and relaxations can detect the potential presence of heart disease or rhythm disorder (arrhythmia). The test can be performed while the patient lies at rest or under stress while the patient walks on a treadmill or rides a stationary bike.
What is the purpose of an electrocardiogram?
The electrocardiogram is used to measure the heart's rhythm to identify any arrhythmias and the possible increase in the size of the heart chambers. On the other hand, the stress ECG may aid in the diagnosis of latent heart disease.
An electrocardiogram does not require any specific preparations.
Which patients can undergo the exam?
Anyone can undergo a standard electrocardiogram test. However, the stress ECG is not recommended for patients with severe heart failure.
Is the electrocardiogram painful or dangerous?
The test is safe and painless.
How is the exam performed?
A few electrodes that are connected by wires to a device called an electrocardiograph are placed on the patient’s chest. The electrodes and wires pick up and transmit the electrical activity of the heart to the electrocardiograph, which processes and prints it on paper in the form of a graphic pattern (electrocardiogram).