Few Important Facts about ECG

ECG (also known as EKG) or electrocardiography is interpretation of the electrical activity produced by heart, which is detected by special machine (ECG machines or EKG Machines). There are electrodes (EKG accessories) in ECG machines, which are placed on the skin in different parts of the body and electrical activity of heart recorded across the chest. The electrical activity produced by ECG machines is known as electrocardiogram. It is a non invasive procedure.

ECG is a diagnostic (as well as for research) tool, commonly used in hospitals and clinics and useful for detecting damage to heart (after heart attack or myocardial infarction), size of different heart chambers, and various other medical problems of heart.

When doctors order for an ECG?

If a patient have any symptom(s) that is suggestive of any of the following medical condition, an ECG is ordered by a doctor:

  • Symptoms of myocardial infarction or heart attack such as chest pain, chest discomfort. ECG shows pathological Q wave or ST elevation in case of MI (myocardial infarction), which are diagnostic of myocardial infarction.
  • Symptoms of heart failure, such as getting tired easily.
  • Symptoms of pulmonary embolism
  • Symptoms of dysrhythmia (abnormal rhythm of heart).
  • Syncope

ECG (electrocardiography) is best way to diagnose (as well as measure the extent of) abnormal rhythm of heart, especially for abnormal rhythm of heart due to damage of heart tissue which conduct/carry electrical signals of heart that are produced within the heart.

What are the limitations of ECG?

  • ECG cannot cover all areas of the heart.
  • Electrocardiography cannot measure the pumping ability of heart; it is best done by ultrasound technique.
  • ECG, if used excessively (overuse) in single patient may give incorrect information and lead to misdiagnosis (which may lead to recommendation of invasive procedures which may not be actually required), which can cause grave danger to patient and may lead to over treatment.

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