An electrocardiogram or ECG is used to record the rhythm and electrical activity of your heart and can help to diagnose whether or not you are experiencing heart problems or have heart disease. Your GP can refer you here or you may be referred by your local health center.
Patients who are about to have an operation of any kind are often given an ECG test to make sure there are no problems with your heart function.
Several small sticky patches are put on your arms, legs and chest. The patches, called ‘electrodes’, are connected to wires which lead to a recording machine. The recording machine picks up the electrical signals produced by each heartbeat. It records a few beats from each set of electrodes onto paper. The ECG machine only records signals from your body. It does not give electric shocks and does not affect your heart in any way. The whole test takes about five minutes and will not be uncomfortable at all.
An ECG can detect problems with your heart rhythm. It can sometimes show if a person has had a heart attack, either recently or some time ago. Sometimes it can show if the heart may be working under strain.