An EKG, also called an ECG or electrocardiogram, is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. An EKG is a quick and painless test.

An EKG can be done as part of an annual physical examination or cardiac stress test. A healthcare provider may also order an EKG if you have symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting or heart palpitations.

If you have chest pain and think you may be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

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What happens in an EKG test?

First, you’ll change out of your clothes and into a hospital gown. Then you’ll lie down. A healthcare provider will place sticky patches, called electrodes, on your chest, arms and legs. Your skin may need to be shaved so the patches will stick.

Wires connect the patches to a machine that records your heart’s electrical activity as lines on graph paper. You need to remain still during the test. You may also be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds.

When the test is over, the healthcare provider will remove the patches.

What will an EKG detect?

EKG results can tell a healthcare provider if a heartbeat is normal or slow, fast or irregular. By looking at an EKG, healthcare providers may also be able to tell which parts of the heart are working too hard. Abnormal results could be a sign of damage to the heart, a heart defect, past or current heart attack and poor circulation.

Your healthcare provider may order additional tests after looking at your EKG results.

Locate the nearest CareNow® urgent care clinic to set up an EKG test today.

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