What is an ECG?
An electrocardiogram is a device which records instantaneously the electrical activity of your heart.
The heart muscle contracts because of electricity generated in the sinus node (the pace-maker of our heart).
What does an ECG show?
- Previous or current heart attack due to blocked heart arteries.
- Heart rhythm abnormalities underlying your palpitations. They consist of a fast heart rate, called tachycardias, or a slow heart rate, called bradycardias or irregular heart beats called ectopics.
- Diseases of the heart muscle, called cardiomyopathies.
When should you have an ECG?
When you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, dizziness or loss of consciousness.
"This test is the right start to shed light on your heart concerns"- Dr. Lo Monaco Read more about me +
The test involves placing some electrodes on your chest, arms and legs. They will record the electrical activity generated by the sinus node, which is where the electrical impulse is formed, and its transmission to the different areas of the heart.
Yes, and this is necessary when I want to assess the heart under stress.
- During the exercise tolerance test and the stress echocardiogram, the ECG records the electrical activity of your heart under stress. I monitor any changes in your heart electrical activity when you walk on a treadmill and indirectly I am able to confirm or rule out if a blocked artery is causing a reduction of blood flow to your heart, potentially leading to a heart attack in the future.
- An Electrocardiogram can detect heart rhythm abnormalities underlying the palpitations. As these symptoms can be fluctuating during the day, we need an ECG trace at the exact moment when you experience them. Therefore a 24 h up to 7 or 14 days holter monitor, which are continuous ECGs monitoring, can capture and record the ECG exactly when you are experiencing palpitations.
No, they are not. An Electrocardiogram records the electrical activity of your heart. The Echocardiogram, instead, visualises the heart structure, which is made up of muscle, valves, chambers.