An electrocardiogram, also known as an EKG or ECG, is a noninvasive diagnostic test that detects electrical activity in the heart. It is usually part of a routine physical exam and is commonly performed after patients have experienced heart attack symptoms, including chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. An EKG produces a record of waves that relate to the electrical impulses that occur during each beat of a patient's heart.
This test is performed by attaching electrical wires, called electrodes, to the arms, legs, and chest. The EKG will begin recording your heart's electrical activity, showing how quickly and regularly your heartbeats, as well as any structural abnormalities in the chambers and thickness of the heart. It is important for patients to remain still during this test, as muscle movement may interfere with results. Abnormal results from an EKG may indicate signs of a heart condition, which should be further investigated.