An electrocardiogram, also known as an EKG or ECG, is a test that checks for problems with the heart’s electrical activity. It shows that activity as lines on paper.
There are many reasons a doctor will perform or request an EKG. They include:
• Checking the heart’s electrical activity
• Looking for the cause of symptoms associated with heart disease. They include palpitations (fast, irregular heartbeats), fainting, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
• Checking how well a pacemaker or other mechanical device is working.
• Checking the overall health of the heart if the patient has a disease or condition like diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
• Verifying if the heart’s walls are too thick.
• Seeing how well the patient is responding to a given medication and if they are suffering any side effects involving the heart.
What happens during an EKG?
Our doctor may give the patient an electrocardiogram as part of a physical exam, especially if they are older, have a family history of heart disease, or have a personal history of heart disease.
A cream will be applied on various areas where the electrodes will be attached. The electrodes are also attached to a machine that measures the electrical activity of the heart and traces the measurements onto a paper.
What is an exercise EKG?
Also known as a stress test or treadmill test, an exercise electrocardiogram (EKG) is a test that checks for changes in the heart caused by exercise. Some patients show abnormal EKG results only while exercising.
The patient may have a normal EKG first before undergoing a second EKG while performing physical activity. The doctor may then compare the results of the two tests. Sometimes, the results of the resting or first EKG will indicate that conducting an exercise EKG would be unsafe.
Considerations regarding the EKG
Consequently, the EKG’s results should be considered along with those of a physical exam, other tests, the patient’s symptoms and their medical history. Exercising before the test can skew the results.
The EKG cannot predict if the patient is going to have a heart attack. It is therefore generally not recommended for people who are healthy and have no heart disease symptoms.
If you are in the Fort Myers, FL area, contact Cardiology Consultants of Southwest Florida today and schedule your appointment. We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have and explain how we conduct an electrocardiogram procedure.