Everything you need to know about an EKG Machine

Electrocardiogram tests, abbreviated as ECG or EKG, are cardiovascular tests that evaluate the heart’s electrical activity. While the two terms are used interchangeably, they are different. These tests may be prescribed if you are experiencing chest discomfort, shortness of breath, dizziness, and palpitations. In this post, we discuss the main differences between ECGs and EKGs.

When are ECGs and EKGs conducted?

Each patient with a heart-related symptom or suffering from a heart disease first undergoes a screening EKG test. Through a series of algorithms, an EKG machine can help measure your heart’s stress, fatigue, variability, age, and even the mood. ECG tests are performed when there are specific symptoms or signs of heart diseases.

How ECGs and EKGs are conducted

The patient does not need to undergo any special preparation for the EKG test to be conducted. You will only be required to lie on the exam table, then the physician places the EKG machine sensors on your arms, leg, and chest. The machine identifies the path taken by electrical impulses that originate from the sinoatrial node as they travel through the heart. By monitoring and interpreting your heart’s electrical rhythm, the physician will know whether there is any unusual heart activity.

When an ECG exam is being conducted, the patient is required to lie on their left side. The ultrasound gel is applied to the chest, and the probe is used to take photos of the heart’s activities.

What information ECGs and EKGs provide

EKG tests provide useful information on the heart rate. It can be used to diagnose such conditions as bradycardia (low heart rate), tachycardia (fast heart rate), atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeats), and heart blocks. It can also be used to detect heart muscle abnormalities and enlarged heart chambers.
An ECG is used when moving pictures that show the functioning and structure of the heart are needed. An ECG is an ideal test when there are possible symptoms of heart failure. ECGs also provide detailed information on the functioning of the heart’s valves which helps identify tight or leaky valves.

How long do ECGs and EKGs tests take?

While both tests are painless and non-invasive, they take different times to complete. An EKG test normally takes 5 minutes or even less. Most of this time is spent applying the sensors since the tracing only takes a few seconds.
On the other hand, an ECG test takes about 20 minutes. It could take longer depending on the specifics of the required information.

While ECGs and EKGs are different, they normally complement each other. For instance, if the physician detects irregular heart palpitations through an EKG test, the doctor may recommend an ECG test to identify the underlying cause of the irregularity.