An electrocardiogram (abbreviated as ECG or EKG) is a common, non-invasive procedure used to measure the heart’s electrical signal. An abnormal ECG may be a sign of heart damage or disease.
Disorders of the heart that an ECG may be used to detect or monitor include:
During a standard ECG test, the patient will lie on the table and have several small sensors (electrodes) placed on their skin in specific spots, such as the chest, arms, or legs. These electrodes are attached to wires that connect to a computer, relaying all electrical activity.
A doctor may order an ECG for those with symptoms such as:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
For older adults at a higher risk of heart disease, an ECG may become a routine part of their exams.