Posted on : January 28, 2020 by Clinic One on Imaging Tests
ECG / EKG (Electrocardiography) is the process of recording the electrical activity (sound or waves) of the heart using electrodes placed on the skin. Commonly also known ECG, it is a graph displaying voltage against time. With each heartbeat, an electrical wave travels through the heart causing the muscles to squeeze and pump blood from the heart.
If you need to get an ECG/EKG quickly, please call us today at 9863393960 to schedule your visit or email us at [email protected]
How do you prepare for an ECG?
No special preparation is required for an ECG examination. Just make sure that you inform the technician or the doctor of the medicine and supplements that you have taken before the examination.
Basic observation process starts with 10 electrodes placed at different vital spots over the chest with sticky patches that helps to record the electrical activity of the heart. Each wire is attached to the monitor, which brings out the final outcome. The electrocardiography is mostly performed in a hospital or a doctor’s office where the patient is advised to breathe normally in order to capture stable waves. Moving or shivering may distort the results.
After the completion of the ECG, the doctor will advise you based on your results. If the results are normal, you can resume your daily activities. But if any abnormality is seen, the patient may be advised to perform another ECG or other diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the abnormality.
What can you learn from ECG Results?
Heart rate can be measured normally by checking the pulse. But if the heart rate is too fast or irregular, the ECG will be helpful for accurate count.
- Monitoring every heart beat and rhythm will show that a patient has a faster, slower or irregular heartbeat.
- ECG measures the heart rhythm irregularity, which occurs due to malfunctions of any part of heart’s electrical system.
- ECG shows evidence of previous heart attack and hints on the progress. The patterns determine the damage of the heart and the extent of the damage.
- ECG helps to determine if the reason for chest pain is because of reduced blood flow to the heart muscles or unstable angina.
- ECG can provide clues about the enlargement of the heart chambers or walls, heart defects and other heart problems.
History of Electrocardiogram
Starting from 1872, ECG was slowly discovered and practiced by different physicians with different techniques and approaches. In 1895, Willem Einthoven who was a Dutch physician invented the first practical electrocardiography and received the Noble Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1924 for it. He assigned the letters P, Q, R, S and T to the deflections in the theoretical waveform he created using equations which corrected the actual waveform obtained by the capillary electrometer to compensate for the imprecision of that instrument.
A heart is triggered by an electrical wave at its each beat which are created from the special chambers of the heart called pacemaker cells. An ECG basically records the timing and strength of those signals as they travel through the heart. An electrocardiography gathers information from 12 different areas for the heart. The result is obtained by placement of electrodes on the skin of the chest and sometimes on limbs over 10 different spots. A standard ECG can record only the abnormal heartbeat but sometimes in case of normal heart rate doctors may make you go through different types of heart rhythm monitoring process to grab correct heartbeat for examination.
A doctor can determine how long the electrical wave takes to pass through the heart by measuring time intervals displayed on ECG. The duration seized by the waves to travel from one part of the heart to the next presents if the electrical activity is normal or not. Also, the cardiologist will be able to find out if the parts of the heart are overloaded or too large by the amount of electrical activity passing through it.
ECG provides information about the heart rate and rhythm and shows if there an enlargement of the heart due to high blood pressure or an evidence of previous heart attack. However, it doesn’t disclose whether you have asymptomatic blockage in the heart arteries or predict the risk of a future heart attack. The result from ECG may indicate the symptoms and cause of heart failure which may led to a stroke.
While an abnormal ECG may indicate a state of medical emergency such as cardiac arrest or dangerous arrhythmia. Sometimes the abnormality may also be a normal variation of a heart’s rhythm which doesn’t have negative affect on the health. Depending on the end results of ECG, the borderline is a point where it is not precisely normal and are not significantly abnormal as well.
However, the outcome of electrocardiography is not considered as the accurate to diagnose the symptoms of heart attack. It is found to be extremely fraught with due to which two out of three attacks are not detected by ECG. Due to which further examination is recommended by the doctors.
The waveform components are the individual wave elements used for electrocardiography interpretation. Each waveform component indicates an individual electrical event during each heartbeat. The basic ECG interpretation requires waveform components which are simply named P, Q, R, S, T and U.
The P wave is the short initial upwards movement that indicates the artia are contracting in the depolarization phase. The Q wave is largely upward deflection, R wave is peak and S is a downward wave. Similarly, T wave is a modest upward wave that represents ventricular repolarization.
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