An ECG is a painless, non-invasive test that checks for issues with the electrical activity of the heart during expansion and contraction.
Why is an Electrocardiogram (ECG) performed?
The test is performed to:
- Check the heart’s electrical activity.
- Find the cause of unexplained chest pain or pressure. This could be caused by a heart attack, or other causes.
- Find the cause of symptoms of heart disease. Symptoms include shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting and heartbeats that are rapid and irregular (palpitations)
- Find out if the walls of the heart chambers are too thick.
- Check how well medicines are working and see if they are causing side effects that affect the heart.
- Check how well mechanical devices that are implanted in the heart, such as pacemakers, are working. These devices help to control the heartbeat.
- Check the health of the heart when other diseases or conditions are present. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes, and a family history of early heart disease.
What Happens During an Electrocardiogram (ECG)?
The ECG test is conducted by placing electrodes on the limbs and the chest of the patient. A gel is applied on the spots where the electrodes have to be connected. Often, hairy patients who take an ECG test have to have the hair from their body shaved off before placing the electrodes as it could interfere with recording heart activity at the ECG centre.
How to prepare for Electrocardiogram (ECG)?
- It’s important to speak to your doctor about your medications, including non-prescription medications, because they may affect the results of the test.
- Avoid the use of oil or lotion before the test as it may prevent the electrodes from sticking properly on your skin.
- It is not recommended to smoke just before the test.
- You may be asked to remove the jewellery around your neck and/or arms for the procedure.