The electrocardiogram (ECG) is used to detect abnormal heart rhythms and to investigate the cause of chest pains. A diagnostic tool is routinely used to assess the electrical and muscular functions of the heart. Electrocardiogram (ECG) is a simple and effective device to record rhythm and electrical activity of the heart. Small sticky patches called electrodes are attached to your arms, legs and chest. These are connected to an ECG recording machine that picks up the electrical signals that make our heart beat.
What Electrocardiogram (ECG) Detects
The heart generates small electrical impulses that extend through the heart muscle to make the heart contract. The ECG machine can detect these impulses. You may have an ECG to help find the cause of symptoms such as palpitations or chest pain.
· An ECG can detect problems with heart rhythm.
· An ECG can detect if you are having a heart attack
· An ECG can detect if you have had a heart attack in the past.
· An ECG can indicate if your heart is enlarged or thickened.
· Atrial contractions show up as the P wave.
· Ventricular contractions show as a series known as the QRS complex.
· The T wave is the electrical activity produced when the ventricles are recharging for the next contraction (repolarizing).
Types of Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Exercise Tolerance Test (ETT). The tracing is done when you exercise on a treadmill or exercise bike. This helps to assess the severity of the tightening of the coronary arteries that causes angina.
- Ambulatory ECG or 24 Hour ECG. A small monitor is attached with you that constantly record your heart rhythm. This test records the electrical activity of your heart when you are doing your normal activities. It detects abnormal heart rhythms usually recorded for 24-48 hours.
- Cardiac Event Recorder. If symptoms are less recurrent, your doctor might suggest using a cardiac event recorder. This can record the heart’s activity for a longer period, and records whenever symptoms occur. A heart monitor requires only three electrode leads – one each on the right arm, left arm, and left chest. It only measures the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. This kind of monitoring does not constitute a complete ECG.
What are Normal Results of Electrocardiogram (ECG)
The exercise ECG can show whether your heart is getting enough blood from the coronary arteries during physical activity. One can find Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and its severity.
- Heart rate shall be 60 to 100 beats per minute
- Heart rhythm shall be consistent and even