Everything You Need to Know About an EKG

EKG, electrocardiogram, heart health, 1st choice urgent care

Have you ever experienced heart palpitations or shortness of breath that you can’t explain? Nagging chest pain that you chalk up to heartburn? Perhaps you can explain it, and are aware that heart disease may run in your family. Maybe there are other contributing factors such as lifestyle or diet.

Visit us at First Choice Urgent Care and find out what’s going on. We run a series of tests on you, and to assess your heart in particular, we administer an electrocardiogram (EKG). This procedure provides in-depth insight into what is going on in your heart.

Electrocardiograms: measuring electrical activity

An electrocardiogram (EKG) records your heart’s electrical activity, which is what keeps your heart’s rate and rhythm in order. EKGs can measure heart damage and the rate of your heartbeat — whether it’s normal or irregular. It also offers insight into the size and location of your heart chambers, as well as the effect that any medication or devices, such as a pacemaker, have when controlling your heart.

What to expect

When you’re administered an EKG, you can expect it to be on an outpatient basis, since it’s noninvasive. In preparing for this test, we ask you to keep your chest free of lotions or oils that could interfere with the equipment.

During the procedure, you can’t wear clothing above the waist, so some patients may need to shave some areas of their chest as prep. Otherwise, the electrodes will not be able to stick to the skin. In addition to external preparation, we also ask that you make us aware of any medications you’re taking. You don’t want to take anything that will throw off the accuracy of your EKG.

During the test, you lie down, and we stick a number of electrodes on your chest, arms, and legs These electrodes, which check the electrical activity and rhythm of your heart, are connected to the machine, which makes a record of the results. It takes only minutes for the electrodes to monitor your heart.

A safe procedure

If you hear the words “electrical activity” and assume the test is dangerous, think again. An EKG will not harm you or leave any side effects. You’re not at risk of getting an electrical shock because the electrodes don’t give off electricity.

It’s a painless procedure, so you stay fully conscious for the EKG and don’t need any sort of sedative. It also means you’re free to go about your everyday activities immediately afterward.

Results

We get the results of your EKG the same day you receive your test, or in time for your next appointment. If everything looks normal, you’ll more than likely not require anymore tests. These test results give us information about heart rhythm and rate, as well as abnormalities of walls or chambers of the heart, and more. We’re even able to see data indicating a heart attack that has occured or one that’s in progress.

Let’s face it: A lot of times we fear procedures more than the potential consequences. If you have experienced any sort of heart issues or have a family or medical history that may lead to them, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us. It’s a step toward putting your mind at ease and potentially preventing further health scares.

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