The role of ECG/EKG in understanding cardiac activity
The heart is a vital organ in the human body and is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood. But it is also the most taken-for-granted organ, according to experts in cardiology. Research reports from the National Institute of Health suggest that annually, about 4.77 million deaths occur due to cardiovascular diseases in India. Also, the prevalence of coronary heart disease is about 13.2% in the urban population. Thus, it is high time that we wake up and undertake periodic medical tests. Tests that pick up the slightest changes in cardiac activity, like ECG, should be a part of our medical routine. Finding out the problem early in life can save it by avoiding sudden cardiac arrest and heart attack. Let’s talk more on this going forward.
What is an ECG test?
An electrocardiogram test, known as ECG or EKG, measures the electrical signals in the heart. It is generally a painless and common test to detect heart problems quickly. It is also a vital tool that monitors the health of the heart. ECG is a painless diagnostic test that helps in detecting problems with the heart quickly. It is also a vital instrument that monitors the health of the heart. This test is generally performed as an outpatient procedure in the doctor’s office.
The procedure records the electrical activities of the heart. It will record the electrical signals that the heart generates and give them a visual representation as a graph. It is a painless and non-invasive test, but instantly depicts the heart’s condition. Experts in cardiology prescribe this as a test of choice to determine,
- Irregular rhythms of the heart
- Blocks in the arteries of the heart
- The efficacy of pacemakers
- Tachycardia and bradycardia, etc.
Is the ECG used to evaluate other diseases that don’t involve the heart?
Yes, at times, doctors might prescribe electrocardiogram tests to diagnose other medical conditions, such as lung disease and electrolyte imbalances. Both these conditions can have an impact on the health of the heart.
When will I require an electrocardiogram test?
Doctors generally don’t recommend the use of electrocardiogram tests for adults who have low-risk factors for developing a cardiac disease. For those with a family history of heart disease, the doctor will prescribe ECG as a screening test. Generally, they will recommend an ECG test if the person suffers from the following signs and symptoms.
- Pain in the chest that doesn’t go away with rest
- Palpitations in the heart that don’t subside with rest
- Lightheadedness, confusion, and dizziness
- Rapid pulse rate
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue and weakness
- Inability to do daily exercise
What does an ECG test diagnose?
The electrocardiogram tests will track and evaluate the activity of the heart for a short time. Thus, it doesn’t pick up the irregularities in the organ that happen once in a while. Experts in cardiology suggest the use of ECG/EKG tests to diagnose different heart ailments, as follows.
- Irregularities in the heartbeat – arrhythmias
- Blocks in the blood vessels of the heart – coronary artery disease
- The inability of the heart to pump blood effectively to other body parts – heart failure
- Damage to the muscles of the heart due to block or reduced blood flow – heart attack
- Disorders of the heart muscles – cardiomyopathy
- Damage to the valves of the heart – valvular heart disease
- Defects of the heart that are present at birth – congenital heart diseases
- Inflammation in the sac that surrounds the heart – carditis or pericarditis.
Thus, the electrocardiogram test is vital in picking up even the slightest deviations in the functions of the heart. By diagnosing these deviations, doctors can prevent fatal heart ailments that could be life-threatening. With the help of this non-invasive test, the doctors can understand the problems of the heart through its graph. Cardiology experts suggest taking EVG immediately if one suffers chest pain and shortness of breath. This test is a holy grail in saving a life.