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Electrocardiography (ECG)

What is Electrocardiography (ECG) ?

Electrocardiography (ECG) is the process of recording the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time using electrodes placed on the skin.

 

Why should I do it?

The overall goal of performing electrocardiography is to obtain information about the structure and function of the heart. Medical uses for this information are varied and generally relate to having a need for knowledge of the structure and/or function. Some indications for performing electrocardiography include:

  • Suspected myocardial infarction (heart attack) or new chest pain
  • Suspected pulmonary embolism or new shortness of breath
  • A third heart sound, fourth heart sound, a cardiac murmur[12] or other findings to suggest structural heart disease
  • Perceived cardiac dysrhythmias[12] either by pulse or palpitations
  • Monitoring of known cardiac dysrhythmias
  • Fainting or collapse[12]
  • Seizures[12]
  • Monitoring the effects of a heart medication (e.g. drug-induced QT prolongation)
  • Assessing severity of electrolyte abnormalities, such as hyperkalemia
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy screening in adolescents as part of a sports physical out of concern for sudden cardiac death (varies by country)
  • Perioperative monitoring in which any form of anesthesia is involved (e.g. monitored anesthesia care, general anesthesia); typically both intraoperative and postoperative.
  • As a part of a pre-operative assessment some time before a surgical procedure (especially for those with known cardiovascular disease or who are undergoing invasive or cardiac, vascular or pulmonary procedures, or who will receive general anesthesia)