An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a medical test that detects cardiac (or heart) abnormalities by measuring the electrical activity generated by the heart. This machine records the patience EC is called electrocardiograph. It is the electric signal of the heart muscles and displays the data as a trace on a screen or on paper. This data is generally interpreted by a medical practitioner. ECGs from a normal heart have a characteristic shape. And irregularities in the heart rhythm or damage to heart muscles can change the electrical activity of the heart and thus the shape of the ECG is also changed.
Doctors recommend the ECG for people who may be at risk of heart disease because of following reason:
• Family history of heart disease
• Smoking habit
• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Chest pain
• Shortness of breath
• Fast or irregular heart beat
ECGs are often performed to see the health of people who have been diagnosed with heart problem, either to help access artificial cardiac pacemaker or to monitor the effect of certain medications on the heart.
Restricting the drink or food before the ECG is not needed. You can tell your doctor beforehand all the medications you are taking so that the doctor is aware of it. You need to tell the doctors if you are allergic to adhesive that is used to attach electrode. Electrodes are attached to your chest, arms and legs with suction cup or sticky gel. The electrodes detect the activity of the heart and prints it on the electrocardiograph.
There are three major type of ECG known as:
• Resting ECG
• Ambulatory ECG
• Cardiac stress test
The result of the ECG determines what treatment you need. Some of the variour heart problems that is diagnosed by this test are:
• Enlargement of heart
• Congenital heart defects involving the conducting electric system
• Abnormal rhythm – rapid or slow or irregular heartbeats
• Poor blood supply to heart
• Abnormal position of the heart
• heart inflammation
• cardiac arrest during emergency room or inside intensive care unit
• disturbance of the heart conducting system
• imbalance in the blood chemicals that controls heart activities
A person with heart disease may have an normal ECG if the condition does not cause a disturbance in the electrical activity of the heart. If the doctor suspects some abnormality he may recommend other diagnostic method.