ECG is often used to detect abnormalities of heart rate and find the cause of chest pain.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) records the electrical activity of the heart. The heart creates small electrical impulses that travel to the heart muscle to perform heart contractions. These electrical impulses can be recorded by an electrocardiogram. You can measure an electrocardiogram to help find the cause of symptoms such as palpitations or chest pain. Sometimes an electrocardiogram is performed as part of a routine test like a preoperative test.
ECG is painless and harmless. The electrocardiogram records the electrical impulses emitted from your body and does not put any electricity into your body.
Your arms, legs and chest will be covered with tiny metal electrodes. The wire will connect these electrodes to the ECG. The machine detects and amplifies the electrical impulses that occur at each heartbeat and writes them to a sheet of paper or computer. The heartbeat is recorded from different electrodes. This test only takes about 5 minutes to perform.
Electrodes on different parts of the body detect electrical impulses coming from different directions in the heart. Each electrode has its normal waveforms. The disorder of the heart will produce abnormal waveforms. Cardiac abnormalities can be detected including:
ECG is a simple and valuable test. Sometimes it can definitely diagnose a heart disease. However, a normal electrocardiogram cannot rule out serious heart conditions. For example, you have an abnormal heart rhythm that appears and disappears, and the recorded results may be normal between these irregular rhythms. In addition, not all heart attacks can be detected by an electrocardiogram. A common heart disease such as angina can not be detected by routine electrocardiography.
Specialized electrocardiograms sometimes help overcome some of the limitations of routine ECG.