Electrocardiograms, or EKGs, are diagnostic tests used to detect, diagnose, and monitor many types of heart problems. They are designed to detect heart rate and record electrical signals as they travel through the heart. Not only are EKGs painless and non-invasive, but they are also performed relatively quickly and easily from the comfort of a doctor’s office or testing facility.
Did you know…
Some people require a modified EKG due to special circumstances. For example, those with an irregular heartbeat may undergo testing outside of the doctor’s office during a 24-hour period at home. Known as Holter Monitoring, these EKGs monitor heart rhythm while the patient keeps a diary of activity at various times during the day. For patients who have exercise-induced heart complications, an in-office stress test may be appropriate. These are EKGs administered while the patient is on a treadmill or stationary bike.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need an EKG?
There are many reasons why your doctor may suggest getting an EKG. If you have had a prior heart attack or are considered at-risk for future heart attacks, you may undergo periodic EKG testing to monitor the condition of your heart. Other reasons for getting an EKG include heart defects, irregular heartbeat, chest pains, and coronary artery disease. Your doctor may also suggest an EKG if you have a family history of heart disease.
What should I expect during a EKG?
There is nothing you need to do to prepare for an EKG other than inform your doctor about any medications you may be taking. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and lie down on an examination table. The EKG technician will place electrodes on your chest and limbs. The test will begin shortly after, taking only a few minutes. During this time, you will be asked to lie very still and avoid talking.
How long will it take to receive the results from my EKG?
Your doctor should receive the results of your EKG the same day of the test. In fact, you may discuss them before you leave. If there are any problems, additional diagnostic testing may be necessary.