What is an EKG?

Submitted by Aaron on Thu, 11/21/2019 - 21:16
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EKG, sometimes abbreviated with ECG, stands for electrocardiogram. An EKG measures the electrical activity of your heartbeat. This is a common exam ordered by your healthcare provider to check for problems with your heart and to monitor your heart’s status.  
 
The EKG is a non-invasive and painless test that offers quick results to your healthcare provider. During the exam, small electrodes are attached to your chest and limbs, and are only left there for a few minutes. This exam can be performed quickly and easily in a patient’s home or other care facility.  
 
Each heartbeat is triggered by an electrical impulse that originates in the upper right portion of your heart. The EKG records the time and strength of these impulses as they travel through your heart. Then the activity is recorded as waves on a graph. The EKG provides two types of information to your healthcare provider. The first is based on how long the electrical impulses take to travel through your heart. This shows whether the activity is too fast, slow, irregular, or normal. The second type of information is a measurement of the amount of electrical impulses that pass through the heart muscle. This will show the doctor if any area of the heart  is enlarged or working too hard. Other information that an EKG can provide includes assisting in diagnosing a heart attack and checking for abnormalities in electrolytes, such as high potassium or calcium.