Electrocardiogram -12 Lead EKG

What is an EKG?

An electrocardiogram, also called EKG or ECG, is a diagnostic test that analyzes the electrical impulses of the heart. It can detect and locate the source of many heart problems.

Electrical signals in the heart trigger heartbeats. They start at the top of the heart (right atrium) and travel to the bottom causing the heart muscle to contract, pumping blood to the rest of the body.

EKGs are sensitive to the rhythm of the heart. They can detect speed, regularity, sudden changes and the location of where the heartbeat is recorded.  

Port of Tests - EKG.jpg

How is it performed?

Your technician will attach 10 soft patches called electrodes to your chest and arms. If you are a man, a small patch of hair may have to be shaven for the electrode to attach appropriately.  

You will then be asked to lie still on an examination table for a few minutes while the electrodes detect the electrical impulses of your heart. A machine records these signals which will be interpreted by our board certified cardiologists. This test is completely harmless and painless and will take approximately 3-5 minutes.

What does an EKG reveal?

Many heart problems change the electrical signature of the heart in distinct ways. An EKG test can help reveal some of these problems:

  • Heart Attack, lack of blood flow to the heart muscle
  • Irregular heartbeat, too fast or too slow
  • Weak pumping hearts
  • Heart muscle that is too thick
  • Parts of the heart that are too big
  • Birth defects in the heart
  • Disease in the heart valves between the different heart chambers

Depending upon what the EKG records, doctors can determine if you have ischemic heart disease, cardiac arrhythmia, previous heart attack(s) and a myriad of other causes of irregular heart rhythm.  They compare a current EKG to an older one to determine how severe the damage is, if any, and take appropriate action. 

EKG screenings can detect serious heart problems early before symptoms are present and when treatment for heart disease is most successful. 

Learn more about Heart Disease.