What is an Electrocardiogram?
An electrocardiogram, often referred to as an EKG or ECG is a quick non-invasive test that measures your heartbeats electrical activity. Each time your heart beats, an electrical current ( electrical wave) travels through your heart. The electrical activity is what causes your heart to beat (contract and pump the blood through your body). The EKG will show the timing of the heartbeat in the top and bottom chambers. The top chamber (left and right atria) make a wave called a P-wave. The bottom chamber (right and left ventricles) make the second wave called the QRD complex. The third wave (T-Wave) occurs when the electrical current returns to a resting state.
Why is an EKG done?
An EKG is performed in order to assist in diagnosing a heart problem. These heart problems include an irregular heart beat (arrhythmias), coronary heart disease, any problems in your hearts chambers, history of heart attack, and to determine if current treatment is working.
There are many sign and symptoms that may lead to your physician performing an EKG. These include a rapid pulse, chest pain, heart palpitations, Shortness of breath, dizziness, confusion, lightheadedness and fatigue. Your physician may also deem the test necessary if you have a family history of heart disease.
How to prepare for this procedure?
In order to prepare for an EKG it is advised to not exercise nor drink cold water. Exercising increases your heart rate which can ultimately affect test results. The consumption of cold water changes the electrical patterns in your body which in return affects the test records.
After (post procedure) this procedure
If your EKG comes out normal you can expect your doctor to go over your results during your follow up visit. If your results determine any that there may be a sign of a health issue your doctor will call you immediately to schedule an appointment to review the results and next steps. After the EKG is performed your doctor will be able to determine if your heartbeat is irregular, too slow or too fast; if you have recently had a heart attack, any heart defects, issues with your heart valves, and if you have clogged or blocked arteries.