Each time your heart beats, an electrical impulse or “wave” travels through your heart causing the muscle to squeeze and pump blood. An electrocardiogram, also known as an EKG or ECG, measures and records the electrical activity of your heartbeat. By measuring how long the electrical wave takes to pass through your heart, your doctor can learn whether the electrical activity is normal or slow, fast or irregular. It will also reveal changes in rhythm, and whether parts of the heart are enlarged or overworked. An EKG can determine if a heart attack has occurred, and help predict if one is developing.

How Should I Prepare the Day Before the Procedure?

There’s nothing you need to do to prepare for the test. You can eat, drink, take regular medications and follow your normal daily routine. 

What Happens on the Day of the Procedure?

The test will be performed by specially trained technicians and will take just a few minutes. You simply lie on a table, and the technician will place sticky patches (electrodes) on your chest and sometimes to your arms or legs. The electrodes are connected by wires to a monitor that will record the impulses that make your heart beat. The impulses are input to a computer and displayed as waves on a monitor or printed on paper. The machine only records the EKG, it doesn’t send electricity into the body.

When Will I Get My Results?

Your doctor will be able to look at the results recorded during your test to see if your heart is functioning normally, and tell you the results of your EKG the same day it's performed or at a follow-up appointment.

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