What is an electrocardiogram?
What do I need to do to prepare for my electrocardiogram?
An electrocardiogram is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. The heart's electrical activity is translated into line tracings on paper, also known as an EKG. The spikes and dips in the line tracings are called waves.
Many medications may change the results of this test. If you take heart medications, your doctor will tell you how to take them before you have this test. Remove all jewelry from your neck, arms, and wrists. Men are usually bare-chested during the test. Women may often wear a bra, t-shirt or gown. If you are wearing stockings, you should take them off.
What should I expect?
An EKG is usually done by a doctor, and the resulting EKG is interpreted by a cardiologist. You may receive an EKG as part of a physical examination at your doctor's office or during a series of tests at a hospital or clinic. EKG equipment is often portable, so the test can be done almost anywhere.
During an EKG, you will lie on a bed or table. Disposable electrodes will be placed on areas of your arms, legs, and chest to conduct the electrical impulse. You will be asked to lie very still and breathe normally during the test. Sometimes you may be asked to hold your breath, but you should not talk during the test.
The test usually takes five to 10 minutes to complete. Your doctor will look at the pattern of spikes and dips on your EKG to check the electrical activity in different parts of your heart. The spikes and dips are grouped into different sections that show how your heart is working.
When will I receive the results of my EKG?
The EKG is read and interpreted by the cardiologist and the results are sent to your ordering doctor as requested or when necessary for pre-surgical testing. The results will be discussed between you and your doctor either during a follow-up office visit or telephone conversation from your doctor's office.
If you have any concerns about the test, please discuss them with your doctor. For more information, please call (480) 728-7208.
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