Test: ECG

ECG (electrocardiography) is used to record the electrical activity of the heart. The procedure is frequently used to diagnose abnormal heart rhythms and to investigate the cause of chest pain. Several electrodes are attached to the skin to transmit the electrical activity of the heart to an ECG machine. Several traces are produced at the same time. Each trace shows electrical activity in different areas of the heart. The test usually takes several minutes to complete and is safe and painless.

During the procedure

Small electrodes are attached to your chest, wrists, and ankles while you rest on a bed. Signals from the electrodes produce a trace.


ECG trace

This trace from an ECG machine shows the normal electrical activity produced by one area of the heart as it contracts during three heartbeats.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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