What’s an ECG or EKG ? An ECG or EKG measures the electrical impulses that control contraction and relaxation of the heart. The familiar waveform pattern is a visual record of the amount of voltage activity generated by the heart and the time required for that activity to travel through the heart. Most heart problems can be identified from the abnormalities in heart rate, rhythm and the ECG or EKG waveform pattern. The ECG or EKG is one of the most common non-invasive tests performed in the physician office today with close to 38 million performed each year. The electrocardiograph is an essential diagnostic tool for virtually every family practitioner, general practitioner, internist, DO and cardiologist in the United States.
An ECG or EKG is usually done to screen patients for heart disease and to help diagnose coronary problems in high-risk or symptomatic patients. The American College of Cardiology recommends that all adults over 40 get tested every five years, but if you have high-risk then to be checked annually.
Stand-alone ECGs are traditional stand-alone, hard copy devices that perform ECGs only. Today, newer versions of the stand-alone technology are beginning to mimic PC-based ECGs with the ability to be connected with electronic medical records software or practice management systems.
PC Based EKGs are compact devices that plug directly into a PC allowing the operator to view live ECG tracings. These devices, in general, enable the user to record ECGs and provide automatic measurements, interpretations and manage patient records. Records are stored on a local PC, a remote central database, directly into an EMR or can be e-mailed to an out-of-network physician for review.
12-lead ECG or EKG is the standard for diagnostic ECGs. The instrument provides 12 different views of the heart. Usually 3 lines with 2.5 seconds of each lead and lead 2 rhythm strip at the bottom of the page.
Multi-Channel ECG or EKG is where the ECG can record 3, 4, 6 or 12 of the lead views at one time on 8 1/2 x 11” paper, for easy storage.
Indications for Performing an ECG or EKG :
What Physicians use ECG’s or EKGs?