What is Electrocardiogram ?
An electrocardiogram records the electrical signals in your heart. It’s a common test used to detect heart problems and monitor the heart’s status in many situations.
How is Electrocardiogram (ECG) done ?
An ECG is a noninvasive, painless test with quick results. During an ECG, sensors (electrodes) that can detect the electrical activity of your heart are attached to your chest and sometimes your limbs. These sensors are usually left on for just a few minutes.
Each beat of your heart is triggered by an electrical impulse normally generated from your heart. An electrocardiogram records the timing and strength of these signals as they travel through your heart.
An electrocardiogram is also called a 12-lead EKG or 12-lead ECG because it gathers information from 12 different areas of the heart. The electrical activity is recorded as waves on a graph, with different patterns corresponding to each electrical phase of your heartbeat.
A standard ECG can record an abnormal heart rhythm only if it happens during the test. Some abnormal heart rhythms come and go, so your doctor may have you undergo a different type of heart rhythm monitoring, such as with a Holter monitor, to help diagnose the cause of your symptoms.
What are some other types of heart rhythm monitoring ?
1- Holter monitor : A Holter monitor is a small, wearable device that records a continuous ECG, usually for 24 to 48 hours.
2- Event monitor : If your symptoms don’t occur often, your doctor may suggest that you wear an event monitor. You can wear it longer than a Holter monitor, typically 30 days.
3- Stress test : If your symptoms occur most often during exercise, your doctor may ask you to walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike during an ECG. This is called a stress test.
4- Implantable loop recorder : It continuously records your heart rhythms, for a much longer time. An implantable loop recorder is inserted under the skin in the chest area during minor surgery and can be left in place for up to three years.
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