An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart.
You will be asked to lie down. The health care provider will attach small patches called electrodes to those areas. It may be necessary to shave or clip some hair so the patches stick to the skin. The number of patches used may vary.
The patches are connected by wires to a machine that turns the heart's electrical signals into wavy lines, which are often printed on paper. The doctor reviews the test results.
You will need to remain still during the procedure. The health care provider may also ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds as the test is being done.
It is important to be relaxed and warm during an ECG recording because any movement, including shivering, can alter the results.
Make sure your health care provider knows about all the medicines you are taking. Some drugs can interfere with test results.
Do not exercise or drink cold water immediately before an ECG because these actions may cause false results.
An ECG is used to measure:
An ECG is often the first test done to determine whether a person has heart disease. Your doctor may order this test if: