Small sticky pads (electrodes) are placed on your upper body and legs to obtain an “electrical picture” of the heart. It is printed out on a special graph paper for the cardiologist to interpret. This common, routine and frequently used non-invasive test tells the doctors about your heart rhythm (how fast and regular it beats), and whether the electrical system of the heart (kind of like biological electrical wiring) is working ok, and indirectly whether parts of the heart might be enlarged or damaged.

This test generally takes less than 5 minutes.

Reasons your doctor may want to perform this test

There are several reasons for your doctor to recommend an ECG and some of them include:

  • If you have chest pains or angina, an ECG provides valuable information as to why you may be experiencing chest pain.
  • If you have had a history of blockages in your coronary arteries, a history of a heart attack or risk factors for developing these blockages, an ECG can help the doctor see if your heart is getting adequate blood flow or has suffered damage in the past.
  • If you are about to undergo surgery, an ECG can help the doctor see if your heart is strong enough to withstand the stress of a long and/or complicated medical procedure.
  • If you have had palpitations (the sensation of your heart beating rapidly or irregularly) or dizziness, an ECG can help the doctor see why you might be having these symptoms.
  • If you have a history of hypertension (elevated blood pressure), an ECG can help the doctor determine if your heart might be enlarged.
  • If you have shortness of breath, an ECG can help the doctor determine if your heart might be the cause.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE STUDY

No preparation is necessary although avoiding applying excessive skin lotions or body oil to the torso and legs can help make sure the results are accurate.
Please take your usual medications unless instructed by your physician.

NOTE: Do not discontinue any medication without first talking with your physician. If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office at (586) 468-8500.