It may sound like some kind of shock therapy for your heart, but an electrocardiogram (EKG) is a quick and painless test that provides valuable information about the health of your heart. Your anxiety level may already be high if you’re experiencing symptoms that may indicate heart trouble, which is why we want you to know what to expect when you get an EKG.
Here at Liberty Medical Services, under the leadership of Philip Baldeo, MD, we want you to be as calm and comfortable as possible during your EKG so we can get the best results.
The simple in-office heart test
When you come to our office with chest pain or palpitations, we want to be able to get you answers as quickly as possible, which is why we have equipped our office with an EKG machine. An EKG has the ability to read and record the electrical activity in your heart.
Every heartbeat starts with an electrical impulse. The electrical impulse causes your heart tissues to squeeze and pump blood. An EKG, which is also referred to as an ECG, measures this electrical activity.
The first blip, referred to as the P wave, measures the electrical activity in your heart’s upper chamber. This is then followed by a flatline as the electric impulse travels to your lower chamber to create the next wave, referred to as the QRS complex. This is followed by the T wave, which is considered the heart resting state.
Why would I need an EKG?
If you come to our urgent care or walk-in clinic with complaints of chest pain, it’s possible that you may be having a heart attack. It’s also possible that you may just be having heartburn. An EKG can tell us what’s going on.
We can also use an EKG to check your heart health if you previously had a heart attack or if you have a history of heart disease. You may also need an EKG as part of a presurgical medical evaluation.
Preparing for your EKG
There’s no special preparation required for an EKG. You don’t need to fast or stop your medication. However, we do want to know about all the medications and supplements you take as some may alter your results.
While your EKG may be a part of an urgent care or walk-in visit, if your EKG is a scheduled appointment, we do request that you not apply any lotion, oil, or powder to your body. If you have hair on the areas of the skin where we need to attach the electrodes, we will need to shave the hair so the electrodes can stick to your skin.
What to expect
It may take us longer to prepare for your EKG than it takes for us to conduct the actual test. Before we place the electrodes on your skin, we’ll have you change into a hospital gown. You can leave your pants on. If needed, we’ll then shave any hair that may impede electrode placement.
Then, we’ll place the electrodes on various parts of your chest and possibly on your arms or legs. Then, we’ll have you lie back on the exam table and relax as we begin your test.
You shouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort during your EKG. We’ll need you to stay as still as possible. Fidgeting and shaking may affect the results of your test. If you’re feeling cold, let us know so we can make you more comfortable.
The entire test only takes a few minutes and tells us:
- How fast your heart is beating
- Whether your heart is beating normally
- If you have heart damage
- The size and position of the chambers in your heart
Afterward, Dr. Baldeo will review the results of your EKG and make recommendations for treatment or further testing.
While an EKG can provide valuable information about your heart, it only measures activity at that one point in time. If Dr. Baldeo has concerns about your heart or suspects the EKG may have missed something, he may recommend additional testing, such as a Holter monitor, which is a device you wear that captures your heart’s activity over a set period of time.
When it comes to your heart, getting answers to your concerns quickly can alleviate a lot of stress and anxiety. Whether you’re having an urgent health issue or you just want to make sure your heart is in good health, we can provide the answers you need. Call Liberty Medical Services today or book an appointment online.