What Is an Electrocardiogram?

An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a diagnostic test that measures the regularity of the heart beat and electrical activity of the heart in order to check for signs of heart problems. An EKG also determines the size and position of the heart chambers, detects any damage to the heart, and checks for any negative side effects of prescription medication on the heart.
During your EKG test FL, electrodes are placed on the outer surface of the skin on your arms, legs, and chest. As you lie on a bed or table the electrocardiogram machine records the electrical activity of the heart. The procedure lasts about 10 minutes, and it is completely painless and non-invasive.

Why Do I Need an Electrocardiogram?

An electrocardiogram is recommended for a number of health conditions that may increase the risk for heart disease such as:

  • Unexplained chest pain
  • Shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, or rapid irregular heartbeats
  • High blood pressure and/or high cholesterol
  • Family history of early heart disease

If a patient is on medication or using a pacemaker to regulate his or her heartbeat, an EKG can be used to make sure that the patient’s heartbeat is normal. EKG test FL specialists also may use this exam for patients who are heavy smokers or have diabetes.

Preparing for your EKG

It is important to inform your doctor about any medication you take, including both nonprescription and prescription medications. Depending on what medication you take, your doctor will tell you how to modify your medication before the test.