is short for Electrocardiogram. The EKG is used as a way of gaining more information about the electrical conduction system of the heart in a non-invasive manner. The test involves placing several leads (stickers) at different positions on the chest wall and on the extremities. The leads are connected via wires to a monitor, and then a recording is taken of the heart's activity. This is completely painless and takes only a few seconds.
The monitor will print out a strip of paper which can be reviewed by your doctor
. The EKG will reveal the type of heart rhythm, the heart rate, and provide insight into any abnormalities in the conduction system (for example, if there is a type of heart block, bundle branch block or enlargement of one particular chamber). EKGs are often used by doctors
in the setting of chest pain to document changes suggestive of an ongoing process such as a heart attack or inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart (the pericardium). They are often ordered in the non-acute setting because they can sometimes show changes suggestive of prior heart disease, which may make your doctor want to start a certain type of treatment.