An Electrocardiogram, or EKG, is among the most common basic tests for heart function and evaluate cardiovascular diseases. The test reveals your cardiac rhythm (heartbeat) and can identify a range of heart health issues, including heart attack, ischemia, heartbeat abnormalities, and other conditions affecting the cardiovascular system.
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What is it Like to Get an EKG Test?
The test is very comfortable, painless, and fast. You will be resting on a treatment bed while a series of 10 or 12 electrodes are placed on your skin. The electrodes have a sticky backing, so they stay in place during the test. These electrodes detect small electrical changes that occur during each beat of your heart. Your heartbeat is triggered by electrical impulses, and this electrical function is measured with an EKG. The device does not emit any electricity itself but only reads the electrical function of your heart. The test takes only a few minutes to complete, after which your heart specialist will evaluate the results and may schedule other tests. In some cases, an EKG is taken both at rest and while exercising.
Preparing for your EKG test: What do you need to do?
You have very little preparation for an EKG test. On the day of your test, do not put any oils or creams on your skin, and wear a shirt or top that can easily be opened or removed for the placement of the electrodes. The test takes only minutes and is painless. If you have a hairy chest, it may need to be shaved so the electrodes can make close contact with your skin.
Your Heart and Your Health: EKG Testing at San Diego Cardiac Center
Heart health is a vital facet of whole-body health. As with many illnesses, identifying a condition early allows for treatments and therapies to be implemented before the condition worsens.
Our team of heart specialists and other medical professionals is committed to helping our patients live happier, healthier lives. An EKG may be ordered if you suffer from various symptoms with an unknown cause, such as:
- Heart pain
- Testing for heart disease or damage
- To identify a very rapid heart rate (tachycardia) or slow heart rate (bradycardia)
- To evaluate heart rhythm irregularities (arrhythmia)
- Testing to evaluate if a prescribed medication is affecting your heart
- To check the function of an implanted device such as a pacemaker