Electrocardiogram, Here's What You Should Know

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Electrocardiogram, Here's What You Should Know
Electrocardiogram, Here's What You Should Know

Electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test to measure and record the electrical activity of the heart. ECG is generally done to check the condition of the heart and assess the effectiveness of treatment for heart disease

An electrocardiogram, also known as a heart record examination, is performed using a machine that detects the heart's electrical impulses called an electrocardiograph. With this tool, the impulses or electrical activity of the heart will be monitored and appear in the form of graphs that are displayed on the monitor screen.

Electrocardiogram, Here's What You Should Know - Alodokter

The doctor will then evaluate the electrical activity of the patient's heart through the monitor. In addition, a graph showing the electrical activity of the patient's heart can also be printed on paper and attached to the patient's medical record.

Doctors will generally recommend an EKG to patients who experience symptoms of heart problems, such as easily feeling tired and weak, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and palpitations.

Indications and Contraindications Electrocardiogram

Electrocardiogram can be used to detect the following conditions:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart muscle disorders (cardiomyopathy)
  • Heart rhythm disorders
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Electrolyte disturbance
  • drug poisoning

Doctors can also use an EKG to check a patient's heart he alth before and after undergoing surgery, as well as to assess the effectiveness of heart disease treatments, such as the use of pacemakers and medications.

The ECG test is painless, fast and safe to do. Therefore, generally no contraindications are found on the electrocardiogram. In other words, the ECG can be performed by anyone at any age group.

Electrocardiogram Alert

EKG is often done in emergency conditions to detect a heart attack. However, in some cases, the ECG can be done through prior planning or when the patient undergoes a routine medical examination (check-up).

If an ECG is performed during a routine check-up, there are a number of things that must be considered, namely:

  • Tell your doctor if you are using a pacemaker.
  • Tell your doctor about any medications and supplements, including herbal supplements, that you are currently taking because they can affect the EKG results.
  • Avoid using lotion, oil, or powder on the body, especially on the chest.
  • Avoid drinking cold water and caffeinated drinks, or exercising before having an EKG, as this may affect the test results.

Before Electrocardiogram

Before the electrocardiogram examination is carried out, the patient will be asked to change into clothes provided by the hospital. If the patient has fine hair on the chest, the doctor or nurse will shave it so that the electrodes are not difficult to stick to the body.

Electrocardiogram Procedure

Electrocardiogram can be done in a clinic or hospital with a length of examination of approximately 10 minutes. The following is a series of ECG examinations:

  • Patients will be asked to change into all medical gowns. The patient will also be asked to remove any jewelery or objects on the body that could affect the results of the examination.
  • The patient will be asked to lie down on the bed. Next, 12 electrodes connected to the EKG machine will be attached to the chest, arms and legs.
  • The EKG machine will record the electrical activity of the patient's heart and display it in the form of a graph of electrical waves on the monitor. The graph will then be analyzed by the doctor.

During the ECG examination, the patient will be asked not to speak and move, as this may affect the test results.

After Electrocardiogram

After the ECG examination, the patient can carry out activities as usual, unless the doctor advises the patient to limit activities due to an illness. Doctors can immediately discuss the results of the ECG on the same day, or schedule it at another day.

If the ECG results are normal, then other tests may not be needed. However, if the EKG results indicate a disease, the patient may be asked to undergo a repeat ECG, or other tests such as cardiac enzymes, depending on the disease the doctor suspects.

Some of the information that can be obtained from the ECG examination are:

  • Regular or irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  • Heart rate is normal, too slow (bradycardia), or too fast (tachycardia)
  • The supply of blood and oxygen to the heart is sufficient or less
  • The condition of the heart is still good or signs of damage have appeared, for example due to having had a heart attack
  • The structure of the heart is normal or changes, for example due to enlargement of the heart chambers

Types of Electrocardiogram

Sometimes, heart problems are not detected by regular (standard) ECG examination. This may occur because the disturbance may come and go, or it may not appear during a normal EKG examination.

To overcome this, there are several other types of cardiac electrical activity tests that can be performed and are slightly different from the usual ECG examination, namely:

Stress testStress test is an ECG examination that is performed when the patient is active on a treadmill, either walking or running, or pedaling a stationary bicycle.

Holter monitor

Holter monitor is an ECG examination to record the electrical activity of the heart while the patient is active for 1-2 days. A holter monitor is a small monitor that is worn around the neck and has electrodes attached to the chest.

Patients can carry out their normal activities when using a holter monitor, as long as the electrodes and monitor are kept dry. While using a holter monitor, the doctor will ask the patient to record all activities that result in changes in the electrical activity of the heart.

Event monitorEvent monitor is a tool similar to a holter monitor. The difference is, the event monitor records the electrical activity of the heart for a few minutes when symptoms of heart problems appear. Event monitors can be used for a period of up to 1 month.

Electrocardiogram Complications

Electrocardiogram examination is generally safe and does not cause any complications. However, in some cases, the patient may experience an allergic skin reaction due to the electrodes attached to the body. The patient may also experience slight pain when the ECG electrodes are removed from the skin.

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