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What Is Echocardiogram?
An electrocardiogram is a procedure that records the electric currents produced by the heart. It measures the current through the skin with electrodes that are attached to the chest. Electrodes are harmless devices with wires that lead to a recording machine.

This procedure is also called:
  • EKG
  • ECG

This procedure is usually performed to help us evaluate the patient's cardiac condition related to the following:
  • Occurrence of a heart attack
  • Damage to the part of the heart resulting from a heart attack
  • Irregularities of heart beat
  • Diseases of the heart muscle
  • Drug therapy for the heart and
  • Pacemaker performance
  • Decreased supply of blood and oxygen to the heart

What Preparation Is Needed?
Please follow these precautions before coming to an electrocardiogram:
  • No restrictions on food or liquids
  • The medications should be taken as usual
  • No lotions, oils, or powder should be applied to the chest

How Electrocardiogram Is Performed?
An Electrocardiogram is a noninvasive test that records the electrical activity of the heart. The electrical activity is related to the impulses that travel through the heart. These impulses determine the heart's rate and rhythm. If you are going to undergo the procedure, you should be prepared for the following:
  1. Electrodes are placed on the chest, arms and legs.

  2. The examiner attaches electrodes to the chest, wrists, and legs with a special gel.

  3. A recording machine will trace a wave pattern for each wire lead.

  4. For a resting EKG, the person must remain still and quiet. The test takes about five to ten minutes.

  5. An EKG taken during exercise, called a stress test, takes longer.

Risk Factors
There are no risks associated with the procedure.

Useful Links
  1. Diagnostic Tests
    The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide provides the patients with basic information on the procedure. It discusses the responsibilities of the patient, the risks that the test entails and more.

  2. Electrocardiogram
    WebMD site provides patients with more in-depth look at the electrocardiogram. This easy-to-understand and well-illustrated article will benefit the readers who want to know more about the procedure.
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