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An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) measures the electrical activity of your heart. The heart generates an electrical signal, which flows out from your heart through your body. Small electrical sensors, called electrodes, are put on your skin to sense the electricity that began in your heart. The electrical activity is then turned into a graph. This can give doctors an idea of whether your heart is beating normally.
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An ECG is used to:
Symptoms that may prompt an ECG include:
An ECG may also be obtained if you:
There are no major complications associated with this test.
You will be asked to lie quietly on your back with your shirt off. Six small, sticky pads with attached wires will be placed across your chest. Others will be placed on your arms and legs. The wires will connect to the ECG machine. You will not feel anything during the test.
You may resume activities as recommended by your doctor.
Your doctor will interpret the ECG. Based on the results and your other health information, you may need more tests or a treatment plan.
After the test, call your doctor if you have heart-related symptoms, like chest pain or trouble breathing.