An EKG checks the electrical activity of the heart. The doctors use it to help determine why you might be having unexplained pressure or chest pain.
An EKG also reviews the effectiveness of certain medications and heart implants, such as pacemakers. If you’re at risk of heart disease due to a genetic history, high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, or smoking, an EKG can help the doctors assess the condition of your heart.
You don’t have to fast or prepare in any special way for an EKG.
You’ll lie on an exam table and the staff will apply wires with electrodes (electrical conductors) on your body.
If you have too much hair for the electrodes to stick, the staff may shave you to provide a clear surface for their adhesion.
The electrode wires are also attached to the EKG machine that measures your heart activity. The test lasts between 5 and 10 minutes.
Dr. Sharma and Dr. Santos will read the EKG report. If it’s normal, it means your heart beats in a normal, healthy rhythm. An abnormal reading may indicate that the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or that the rhythm is just not regular.
An EKG can’t predict whether or not you’ll have a heart attack. And, it’s not always possible to see abnormalities on an EKG unless you’re exercising during a stress test. The test can only record an abnormal rhythm if it happens during the test; these rhythms can come and go.
An EKG is noninvasive, meaning it doesn’t require any needles or incisions. It causes no discomfort and has no side effects.
Although a normal EKG is a good sign, Dr. Sharma and Dr. Santos will take into account all of your risk factors for heart problems when making a diagnosis. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight, a strong family history, and a chronic use of tobacco – especially smoking – put you at risk of heart disease.
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