We know that the heart is a muscular pump made up of four chambers – two upper chambers (atria) and two lower chambers (ventricles). We are also aware that the heart muscles contract and expand on a regular basis due to the natural electrical system which helps the blood to reach to and from the lungs and the rest of the body.
At times however, there may be some problem or disturbance with the electrical activity of the heart. ECG/EKG (or electrocardiogram) is a test which is used to measure the electrical rhythm of the heart and identify the problem or issue, if any. The test shows the electrical activity of the heart as line tracings on paper. Dips and spikes recorded in these tracings are commonly known as waves.
Why an ECG test is conducted?
We can see how doing the test becomes a necessity when it is imperative to monitor the functioning of the heart. In these cases, we can use an ECG machine and perform the test to be determine the health of the heart.
Here are some of reasons to do an ECG test –
- Check the health of the heart
- Check the electrical activity of the heart
- Identify the source of chest pain
- Understand the cause of chest pressure
- Check whether the pain or pressure to the heart is caused by a heart attack
- Find out whether angina has caused the pain or pressure in the heart
- Find out the exact reason behind causing different symptoms of heart disease
- To check the cause of rapid and irregular heartbeats
- Find the cause of dizziness and breathe shortness
- To check whether the walls of the heart chambers are too thick
- Check the effects and side effects of medicines to the heart
- Check whether the device implanted in the heart to control the heartbeat is operating correctly
ECG results – things to know
Can you take the test by yourself? Yes, many people perform self-tests as ECG machine prices are not that high and they can be purchases easily. Although it is important to note that it requires a lot of knowledge and expertise to read the EKG as laymen can’t understand much looking at the pattern of spikes and dips on the EKG.
Here are a few different things to know about ECG results –
- Only a trained doctor can decode the waves correctly and understand better the electrical activity in different parts of the heart
- The results are considered normal when the tracing looks normal and the heart beats in a regular rhythm (between 60 to 100 beats / minute)
- ECG results should be considered abnormal when the heart rhythm is irregular and the tracing is not normal
- The results are abnormal when the heart beats are either less than 60 beats / minute or more than 100 beats / minute
- The test may not show proper results if one has done exercise before it or breathes very rapidly during the test
- The occurrence of a heart attack is something which can never be predicted using this special test