Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

An electrocardiogram is used to monitor your heart. Each beat of your heart is triggered by an electrical impulse generated from special cells. An electrocardiogram – also called an ECG or EKG – records these electrical signals traveling through the heart. Your doctor can use an electrocardiogram to look for abnormal heartbeats and rhythms to diagnose various heart conditions.

An electrocardiogram is a safe and painless test. The results of your electrocardiogram will be reported the same day.

Why it’s done:
An electrocardiogram is a painless way to diagnose many common types of heart problems. Your doctor can use an electrocardiogram to detect:

  • Irregularities in your heart rhythm (arrhythmias)
  • Heart defects
  • Problems with your heart’s valves
  • Blocked or narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease)
  • A heart attack, in emergency situations
  • A previous heart attack

How you prepare:
No special preparations are necessary.

What you can expect:
An electrocardiogram can be done in our office, and is often performed by a nurse, medical assistant and/or technologist. You’ll lie on an examining table or bed. Electrodes will be attached to your arms, legs, and chest. The electrodes are sticky patches applied with a gel to help detect electrical currents from your heart. If you have hair on the parts of your body where the electrodes will be placed, the medical personnel may need to shave the hair so that the electrodes stick properly.