What is an electrocardiogram test or ECG Test?
An ECG is a test that is supposed to record the electrical activity of the heart. Yes, our heart produces some tiny electrical impulses, which spread through the heart muscle to make the heart contract. These impulses are detectable by the ECG machine. You may at times have an ECG in order to help and find the cause of symptoms such as the feeling of a ‘thumping heart’ (palpitations) or even chest pain. Sometimes, it is done as a part of routine tests – for instance, before you have any operation.
As far as the ECG test is concerned, it is painless and harmless. The machine records every electrical impulses coming from your body, and does not put any electricity into your body.
How an ECG Test is done?
Some small metal electrodes are stuck onto your arms, legs and even chest. The wires from the electrodes are indeed connected to the electrocardiogram (ECG) machine. The machine then makes its move to detect and even amplify the electrical impulses that actually occur at each heartbeat and records them onto a paper or computer. There are few heartbeats that are recorded from different sets of electrodes. This is a test that takes about five minutes to get it done.
What does an electrocardiogram test show?
There are many electrodes placed on the different parts of the body in order to detect electrical impulses that are actually coming from different directions within the heart. There are normal patterns for each of the electrodes. There are various heart disorders that simply produce abnormal patterns. It is in fact the heart disorders that can be detected includes the following:
- The Abnormal heart rhythms. Yes, it is true that if the heart rate is very fast, or even very slow, or at times irregular. There are indeed various types of irregular heart rhythm with such characteristic ECG patterns.
- A heart attack or even the myocardial infarction was in fact the most recent one some time ago. A complete heart attack indeed causes the complete damage to the heart muscle and this is something that even heals with scar tissue. These can therefore be detected by abnormal ECG patterns.
- A complete enlarged heart. Basically, is the cause for bigger impulses than the normal one
The complete limitations of the electrocardiogram (ECG)
An ECG Test is a simple yet a very valuable test. Sometimes it can also be said that this is a kind of test, which definitely diagnose a heart problem. However, when there is a normal ECG does not rule out any kind of serious heart disease. For instance, you may always have an irregular heart rhythm that indeed ‘comes and goes’ and the exact recording can be normal between the episodes. In addition, not all the heart attacks are detectable by ECG. In fact an Angina, a common heart disorder, cannot and is usually not be detected by a routine ECG.
The Specialized ECG recordings sometimes help to overcome some limitations. For example:
- The Exercise ECG
In this particular test, a complete tracing is done when you are exercising (on a treadmill or even you are doing exercise on a bike). This therefore helps to assess the complete severity of the narrowing of the coronary arteries, which even causes angina.
- The Ambulatory ECG
In this particular test you always wear a small monitor which is constantly said to record your heart rhythm. This is therefore the kind of test that completely records the electrical activity of your heart when you are actually walking about the ambulatory and even doing your normal activities. It is therefore said to aim and detect abnormal heart rhythms that may ‘come and go’.
What can an ECG Test show?
An electrocardiogram test or a simple ECG Test can be a useful in many ways in order to find out whether your high blood pressure has actually caused any damage to your heart or even in your blood vessels. Because of this sole thing, you may always be asked to have an ECG.
Some of the things that an ECG reading can detect are:
- The complete cholesterol clogging up your heart’s blood supply
- An accurate heart attack in the past
- An enlargement of one side of the heart
- Even an abnormal heart rhythm
How is an ECG Test carried out?
An ECG Test or an electrocardiogram test is indeed a safe and completely painless test which normally only takes a few minutes.
It is also said to completely lead since from an electrocardiograph machine that are attached to the skin on your arms, legs and chest using the sticky patches. This finally leads to some read signals from your heart and the process is to directly send this information to the electrocardiograph. The machine is then said to print the reading on a paper strip or on a screen as some signals from your heart. This is then read to derive a particular answer.
The Major Types of ECG Tests
There are many different types and parcel of ECG Test and today let us have a look at some of them:
- The Resting ECG
If you at any point of time considers that the doctor is interested in how your heart is actually working while you are at rest, you will always be asked to indeed lie down and relax while the heartbeat is being completely recorded.
- The Exercise ECG
This is another type of test, which your doctor may be interested in how your heart actually reacts to all the various activities and you will be asked to walk or even run on a treadmill or on a cycle on an exercise bike while your heartbeat is completely recorded.
- The 24-hour ECG
It is said that sometimes it can be really very helpful in order to monitor your heartbeat throughout the day, in which the case you will be asked to wear a small and tiny electrocardiograph machine. The recordings of this particular machine are then translated and read by your doctor when you return the machine.
Hence, all of them are important and will always get your best heart health!!