If you’ve ever read any Edgar Allan Poe, odds are you’ve read the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” about a crazed man who kills an old neighbor because he couldn’t stand the man’s pale blue eye. But then he thinks he can hear the old man’s heart beating, which eventually makes him confess to the crime in an ever-maddening state.
At Premier Heart & Vein Care, we know another person can never hear someone else’s heartbeat. That’s the stuff of love songs and horror tales. Here, we do that with electrocardiograms.
Electrocardiograms are one of our most frequent tests we perform. If there are questions about your heart’s status, this quick, painless, noninvasive test provides valuable information for detecting various problems with your heart.
What is an electrocardiogram?
An electrocardiogram, also called an EKG or ECG, records the electrical activity of your heart through small electrode patches that are attached to the skin of your chest, arms, and legs.
Do I need an electrocardiogram?
If your doctor believes that you have suffered heart damage or have an abnormal heart rate, he or she may request an EKG. These signs or symptoms usually will merit this test:
- Rapid pulse
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or confusion
- Weakness, fatigue, or a decline in the ability to exercise
How is an electrocardiogram done?
To perform an EKG, we attach 10 electrodes with small adhesive pads to your skin, usually on the chest. We may need to shave chest hair to provide a better connection.
During the test, you lie flat with the electrodes on your chest. The computer creates a picture on graph paper of the electrical impulses as they move through your heart. This is a resting EKG. It can also be done while you are exercising.
The recording only takes a few seconds and is painless.
In this month’s second blog, we’ll get into different types of EKGs. Until then, if you need this type of cardiac monitoring, Premier Heart & Vein Care is who you need to call. Book your appointment at (805) 979-4777.