Unlike those medical tests they promise will be “mostly” painless but aren’t, an EKG is a truly pain-free test that health care providers use to get a quick recording of your heart’s electrical activity. The way your heart’s electrical system functions is important, because electrical signals control the rhythm and rate of your heartbeat.
The top-rated physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants at Calvary Medical Clinic offer on-site EKG testing as part of their commitment to provide the highest quality care to residents in Cleveland, Livingston, and Humble, Texas.
Read what these experts have to say about the test and why you might need an EKG.
Understanding the EKG
The electrocardiogram, also referred to as an EKG or ECG, tracks your heart rate and rhythm via sensors that attach to specific points on your chest. Each sensor has a patch at one end that sticks painlessly to your skin’s surface and a thin wire leading back to the EKG machine.
Once these sensors, or leads, are placed by a qualified technician, you lie still for a minute as the machine records your heartbeat and provides a printout (tracing) of what it captured. Your technician then removes the leads.
The entire test typically takes less than 10 minutes, with most of that time being spent attaching and removing the leads, which may number up to 12.
The sticky substance on the lead may seem a bit wet or cold when first adhered to your skin. Otherwise, you can expect to feel absolutely nothing from the EKG as it does its job.
Your Calvary Medical provider then reviews the test results, which show the speed of your heartbeat, the interval between beats (rhythm), and the strength of electrical impulses as they move through the heart.
An abnormally slow or fast heart rate, irregular rhythm (arrhythmia), or unusual electrical signal may indicate a condition that needs further study.
The EKG can also pick up signs of a previous or current heart attack, structural abnormalities such as an enlarged heart, or inadequate oxygen supply or blood flow to your heart.
Why would I need an EKG?
Your provider may recommend an EKG to:
- Evaluate symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, unexplained fatigue, chest pain, etc.
- Help gauge your heart health and function before surgery or other medical procedures
- Determine the effectiveness of heart-related treatments, i.e. pacemaker or medication therapy
- Complete a comprehensive physical exam and create a baseline study that can be compared with future EKGs
Because a traditional EKG is very brief, depending on your symptoms and test results, your provider may recommend further study such as a Holter monitor.
A Holter monitor is a portable, battery-powered device that captures the same information as a traditional EKG but does so over a 24-hour period. The device is small, about the size of a deck of cards, and is typically worn like a necklace.
You can rely on the experts at Calvary Medical Clinic to provide outstanding medical care that may include an EKG. Call the office today to schedule an appointment or book your visit online. We also offer urgent care and telemedicine services. Contact us today to find out more.