An electrocardiogram is commonly called an ECG or EKG and uses a machine to measure and record (on paper or a computer screen) the electrical activity in the heart. With each heartbeat, the heart emits a series of electrical discharge spikes that can be recorded using electrodes on the surface of the body. The shape and pattern of the spikes can assist in diagnosing a wide range of heart problems such as:
- Muscle Defect;
- Enlargement of the Heart;
- Congenital Defects;
- Heart Valve disease;
- Arrhythmias (Abnormal Heart Rhythms);
- Tachycardia or Bradycardia (Heart rate too fast or too slow);
- Ectopic Heartbeat;
- Coronary Artery Disease;
- Inflammation of the Heart (Myocarditis);
- Inflammation Around the Heart (Pericarditis);
- Changes in the Amount of Electrolytes (Chemicals in the Blood); and
- Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack), Past or Present.
It is important to remember that EKGs are not 100% accurate. Normal recordings can be obtained in patients with significant heart disease, or some “abnormalities” may exist in the presence of a normal heart.