What Is an EKG? Here’s What to Expect From the Process

what is an EKG

You are sitting at your desk, working as normal, when you feel as though you have a weight on your chest that you can not remove. Rightfully panicked, you make your way to the nearest urgent care facility. The doctor looks you over and recommends an EKG to see what’s going on, but what is an EKG?

What Is an EKG 

EKG, or ECG, stands for electrocardiogram. This is a common testing procedure used to determine if someone is suffering from heart disease or other cardiac abnormalities. EKGs are frequently performed at urgent care and other outpatient facilities in order to determine if a cardiac event, such as a heart attack has occurred, or if a patient’s symptoms are associated with a defect or heart-related illness. 

How Does It Work? 

EKGs record the electrical pulses from your heart so that a medical professional can determine if there are abnormalities. This is done by connected electrodes to specific key points on your body that pick up the various electrical signals given off by the sinoatrial node of your heart. This, in turn, produces a readout of the rate and pathway those signals take, which can be interpreted by a doctor to reveal any cardiac issues that may be present. 

Electrodes and Pulses: Should I Be Worried? 

The short answer is no. EKGs are incredibly safe procedures that are performed daily at thousands of outpatient facilities across the world. EKGs are passive procedures, meaning that they are non-invasive and they don’t directly stimulate your heart, they merely observe and record. There are no known cases of someone being injured directly by a properly administered EKG. 

The most commonly reported side effect from an EKG is a small rash or patch of irritation at the electrode application site. This usually caused by an allergic reaction to the adhesives used to apply the electrodes, and not by the electrodes themselves. These rashes are known to clear up rapidly after the removal of the electrodes without medical intervention, though you can always reach out to your local urgent care if you have any concerns. 

How Should I Prepare for an EKG? 

If you are going in for scheduled EKG, there are a few things that you can do to make the process go smoothly. 

  • Wear easy to remove, comfortable clothing
    • Tight shirts and multiple layers can be difficult to remove, and awkward to manage. You will be partially undressed for the procedure, so make sure to dress accordingly 
  • Avoid Moisturizers and heavy lotions 
    • These can make your skin slick and oily, which may cause difficulty with the application of the necessary electrodes. 
  • Shave your body hair. 
    • While the technician the day of will shave the necessary placed on your skin for the electrodes to attach, you can assist in this process by removing excess hair on your chest. 

What Is an EKG Used for? To Keep You Healthy

From emergency rooms to urgent care, EKGs are a safe, simple, and effective diagnostic procedure that can keep you healthy and happy. The answer to what is an EKG is that it is the right choice for your health care