Munson Health
 
Electrocardiogram

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by Scholten A

(ECG; EKG)

 

Reasons for Test

An EKG is used to:
  • Diagnose heart attacks and rhythm problems
  • Offer clues about other heart conditions and conditions not primarily related to the heart
  • Detect conditions that alter the body’s balance of electrolytes, such as potassium and magnesium
  • Detect other problems, such as overdoses of certain drugs
Symptoms that may prompt an EKG include:
  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness
  • Nausea or the feeling that you have to vomit
  • History of fainting
An EKG may also be obtained if you:
  • Are about to have surgery with general anesthesia
  • Are in occupations that stress the heart or where public safety is a concern
  • Are an older adult or have diabetes
  • Already have heart disease
  • Have had a heart-related procedure, such as getting a pacemaker
 

RESOURCES

American Heart Association
http://www.heart.org

Heart Rhythm Society
http://www.hrsonline.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Cardiovascular Society
http://www.ccs.ca

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
http://www.heartandstroke.ca

 

References


Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/SymptomsDiagnosisofHeartAttack/Electrocardiogram-ECG-or-EKG%5FUCM%5F309050%5FArticle.jsp. Updated November 26, 2012. Accessed May 20, 2013.


Noninvasive tests and procedures. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/SymptomsDiagnosisofHeartAttack/Non-Invasive-Tests-and-Procedures%5FUCM%5F303930%5FArticle.jsp. Updated April 15, 2013. Accessed May 20, 2013.


What is an electrocardiogram? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ekg/. Updated October 1, 2010. Accessed May 20, 2013.

 

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