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Electrocardiogram (EKG)

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

During cardiovascular emergencies, an electrocardiogram is crucial to evaluate cardiac function. Mercy Emergency Room in Sugar Land, Texas has advanced diagnostic facilities to expedite care. We are open 24/7 and patients are seen without delay. 

What is an Electrocardiogram?

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a medical test that measures and records the electrical activity of the heart.

The heart is a muscular organ that beats rhythmically to pump blood throughout the body delivering oxygen to organs and tissues.

The sinoatrial node, SA node, is the natural pacemaker of the heart. It sends signals to the muscle fibers of the heart telling them when to contract. Each contraction is one heartbeat.

In an EKG test, the electrical impulses made while the heart is beating are recorded and documented on a strip of paper.

Why is an EKG performed?

An EKG is done to:

  • Assess the heart's electrical activity for any abnormalities.
  • Find the cause of unexplained chest pain, such as from a heart attack, inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis), or angina.
  • Assess the cause of symptoms of heart disease, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, or rapid, irregular heartbeats (palpitations).
  • Find out if the walls of the heart chambers are too thick (hypertrophied).
  • Assess the health of the heart when other diseases or conditions are present, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes, or a family history of early heart disease.

How is an EKG performed?

The EKG is performed by a skilled professional on site and the results are interpreted by our board-certified physicians.

During an EKG (ECG), the patient will lie on his/ her back on a bed or table. Small metal discs called electrodes will be taped to the arms and legs to record the heart rate during the test.

A special EKG gel or small pads soaked in alcohol may be placed between the electrodes and your skin to improve the conduction of the electrical impulses.

The electrodes may be moved at different times during the test to measure the heart's electrical activity from different locations on the chest.

Risks associated with EKG

An EKG is a completely safe test with no adverse risks or side effects. No electricity passes through your body from the machine, so there is no danger of getting an electrical shock.

Sometimes an EKG is performed with the patient exercising. This type of EKG examination is called a stress EKG and will be supervised by a medical doctor in addition to the EKG technicians. If you get chest pains during a stress EKG please inform us at once.