ECG is a non-invasive and pain-free method of heart function analysis with the help of an electrocardiograph – a special device registering the electrical impulses of the heart.
What are the indications for the test?
- chest pain
- fainting, cases of unconsciousness, dizziness
- as a part of a routine physical examination for middle-aged and older people
Electrocardiography is also recommended for people:
- with a pacemaker, because it helps to monitor its functioning
- who take antiarrhythmic medicine (to monitor effects)
- with a diagnosed arrhythmia
What are the recommendations before the test?
On the day of the test (at least one hour before) the patient should refrain from drinking coffee and smoking because it quickens heart rate and raises blood pressure. It is recommended to have a light meal so that a full stomach doesn’t raise the pressure in the abdominal cavity. Furthermore, a day before and on the day of the test, the patient should avoid drinking alcohol and strenuous physical activity.
How is the test performed?
The test is performed in the lying position. The doctor places electrodes (small round sensors that stick to the skin) on the patient’s arms, legs, and chest. These electrodes do not contain needles and are painless. They measure the magnitude and direction of electrical currents in the heart during each heartbeat. The electrodes are connected by wires to a device, which produces a record (tracing on printed paper) for each electrode. Each tracing shows the electrical activity of the heart from different angles. After the test which lasts about ten minutes, the data is interpreted by the doctor.