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Electrocardiogram: examination detects cardiac arrhythmias

Electrocardiogram: examination detects cardiac arrhythmias

The electrocardiogram (ECG) is an exam that checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart. It is a quick, simple, and painless procedure in which the heart's electrical impulses are amplified and recorded on a piece of paper.

Each heartbeat happens because of an electrical impulse naturally generated by your heart's special cells. The electric impulse activates muscle cells to contract and this general action a new electric impulse. The electrocardiogram records these electrical impulses and shows if their rhythm and intensity are within normal range. An increase or decrease of the muscles, as well as problems that isolate the electrical part of the heart, can be evaluated by the intensity evaluation.

An ECG is usually asked if there is suspicion of heart disease or as part of a routine physical examination for the majority of people of middle age and older.


ECG, electrocardiography


The electrocardiogram can be used to detect or follow:

  • Irregularities in heart rhythm (arrhythmia), (bradycardia) or out of rhythm
  • Heart defects
  • Problems with heart valves
  • Closed or narrowed heart arteries (coronary artery disease)
  • Infarction in situations Inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart (pericarditis)
  • Hypertrophy of cardiac chambers (atria and ventricles)
  • Genetic diseases
  • Transmissible diseases and Chagas disease
  • Heart-isolating diseases (pericardial effusion or pneumothorax)
  • Symptoms that can cause a physician or physician to order an electrocardiogram are:
  • Shortness of breath


  • Fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • The electrocardiogram can also be used to check the health of the heart when other diseases or conditions are present, such as:
  • High blood pressure or hypertension

High cholesterol

  • Smoking
  • In addition, the test can also monitor whether mechanical devices implanted in the heart are working, such as pacemakers, and whether the use of certain medications is causing side effects in the heart. .
  • Pregnant can do?
  • Yes, there is no contraindication to this test during pregnancy. There are also no special values ​​for pregnancy test results.
  • Contraindications

Contraindications to an electrocardiogram are rare. Overall, anyone in any situation can take the exam. The only impediment would be the inability to place the electrodes on the person or if they are unable to remain at rest.

Examination Preparation

Be sure to inform during the consultation about all the medications you take regularly, with and without prescription. If you take some heart medicine, you will be advised on what to do before the test. Talk to your doctor about any concerns, what the risks are, or what the results will say.

It is not recommended to practice exercises just before the test, as heart rate can be accelerated by physical activity.

How It's Done

The electrocardiogram can be done in the hospital or in a doctor's office. Testing equipment is usually portable, so the test can be performed almost anywhere.

It is important not to be wearing any type of jewelry on the neck, arms and wrists. Men are usually bare-chested during the test, and women can wear a bra, T-shirt or dress.

With the patient lying down, the skin is cleaned on the wrists, ankles, and at six points in the chest using an alcohol gauze pad. If the patient has many hairs in the areas where the electrodes will be applied, they will be depilated.

After cleaning, a conductive gel is applied to the skin, which prevents any external interference and allows the examination to detect only the electrical impulses of the electrodes. patient. The electrodes are placed in these locations with the aid of adhesives.

The patient will be instructed to breathe normally during the examination. However, movements can not be made, since tremors or even speech can distort the test results.

Examination time

The electrocardiogram usually takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete.

Post-examination recommendations

There are no special recommendations after the examination. The patient may wait for the results in the office or hospital and receive medical advice.


The electrocardiogram is a safe procedure. There may be minor discomfort when the bandages are removed and there is a slight risk of skin irritation from contact with the electrodes. However, this is rare.

There is no risk of shock during the electrocardiogram, since the electrodes are only recording the activity of the heart, without emitting any type of electric current. In general, there is no reason to worry about the exam.


Usually the results can be seen soon after the exam is done. If the results show any problems with your heart rate, you may need to repeat the ECG or do other tests, such as an echocardiogram, holter, or more complex exams. However, a normal result does not exclude the presence of heart disease.

Normal results

The heart beats at a regular pace, usually between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm)

The stroke appears to be normal.

Results abnormal heart

The heart beats very slowly (below 60 bpm)

  • The heart beats very fast (above 100 bpm)
  • Heart rate is not regular

The stroke does not look normal. What abnormal results mean?

  • Many types of anomalies can be attested by an electrocardiogram. These include:
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Indication of damaged heart parts and extent of damage
  • Angina

Ischemia (inadequate supply of oxygen to the heart)

Congenital heart disease

  • Injuries in cardiac valves
  • Electrical impulse conduction blocking
  • Modifications of body electrolytes, such as elevation or reduction in potassium rates.
  • Examination frequency:
  • Women aged 55 and over men over 45 should have their electrocardiogram annually. Changes in periodicity take into account the presence of diseases or family history of heart problems.

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