An electrocardiogram or EKG machine
will record the electrical activity of the heart. The heart beats and that sends an electrical signal from the top to the bottom of the heart. It is what causes the heart to pump and contract blood throughout the rest of the heart and the body.
1. Diagnose an Arrhythmia. There is only so much that a stethoscope can hear. It is for this reason that patients are often hooked to an EKG to get a better read of the heartbeats. The patient’s heart patterns will be charted and any irregularly can be detected. Some of these arrhythmias can be harmless; however, if the heart isn’t able to pump enough blood through the body, it can be life threatening.
2. Stress Tests.
A patient’s heart may not be performing properly during exercise or strenuous activity, so a stress test
is needed. A patient will go on a treadmill or exercise bike as they are hooked up to an EKG. Both their heart rate and blood pressure are monitored. It will continue until the patient complains of chest pain or when the target heart rate is achieved. The monitoring will continue to see how long it takes a patient to recover with a baseline heart rate.
3. Look for health of heart valves. A person on an EKG device will have their heart beats monitored. Either through birth defects, ages or infections, one can experience heart valve disease where the valves of the heart don’t work properly. There are four valves to the heart. If one or more of them aren’t opening or closing properly, either not enough blood will flow through or some will leak back into a chamber, causing problems.
4. Watch for signs of heart failure. The heart is supposed to fill with enough blood and then pump it to the rest of the body. An EKG can see if this is being done properly. Heart failure isn’t when the heart stops working, it just isn’t working hard enough. The heart won’t fill with enough blood or it isn’t pumping strong enough to get the blood to the rest of the body, which could lead to other organs in the body shutting down.
5. Diagnose a heart attack. A patient hooked to an EKG during a heart attack will show a very abrupt change in what is known as ST elevation. There isn’t anything else that causes it and an EKG is the best way to view the spikes. It can also be used to help diagnose to see if a person has just recently suffered from a heart attack as well.
There are other uses of an EKG that a cardiologist could implore; however, these are the top 5 uses. EKG machines are very complex and can give a lot of important data to doctors to help with diagnoses of patients.