Electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG)

An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that monitors the electrical activity of the heart by recording the impulses that determine the heart's rate and rhythm. This test is used when heart disease or damage is first suspected in a patient.

Test Preparation

There are no restrictions on food, liquid, or medications prior to this test. Do not apply lotions, oils, or powder to the chest area. Patients should wear comfortable clothing that can be easily removed from the waist up.

The Test

This quick, safe, and painless test takes about 5-10 minutes. Once the patient has removed his or her clothes from the waist up, they will be instructed to lie down. Once 10 areas of the chest, arms, and legs are cleaned, gel will be applied and small metal devices (electrodes) are then placed over the gel. The electrodes have wires which are connected to the electrocardiograph machine. Recordings of the heart are taken and graphed by a series of wave lines on a moving strip of paper or on a video monitor. The heart’s condition is evaluated by the doctor to see if a heart attack has occurred, if part of the heart is damaged, if there are irregular beats or rhythm, if the heart is enlarged, or if there is decreased blood flow or oxygen supply.

After the Test

After completion of the test, the patient will need to lie perfectly still for about one minute while resting-heart activity is measured and recorded. Each electrode produces a "tracing" or “lead” of a particular area of the heart and its activity.

Depending on the results of the test, the physician may order further tests or a combination of medications/lifestyle changes

For more information, please call:

The Specialty Clinic
(360) 414-2730