An electrocardiogram (EKG) measures your heart’s electrical activity. This noninvasive test can measure many aspects, from how fast the heart beats to how well its chambers conduct electrical energy. An EKG machine is typically a portable machine that has 12 leads, or long, flexible, wire-like tubes attached to sticky electrodes.
These are placed on designated areas around the heart and on the arms and legs. The electrodes sense the electrical impulses coming from multiple directions. Undergoing an EKG procedure isn’t painful. You don’t have to do anything special to prepare for the test. The test itself typically takes five minutes or less.
With this test, your doctor will be able to:
- Check your heart rhythm
- See if you have poor blood flow to your heart muscle (this is called ischemia)
- Diagnose a heart attack
- Check on things that are abnormal, such as thickened heart muscle