An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart.
Why It Is Done
An EKG is done to:
- Check the heart’s electrical activity.
- Find the cause of unexplained chest pain or pressure. This could be caused by a heart attack, inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis), or angina.
- Find the cause of symptoms of heart disease. Symptoms include shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, and heartbeats that are rapid and irregular (palpitations).
- Find out if the walls of the heart chambers are too thick.
- Check how well medicines are working and see if they are causing side effects that affect the heart.
- Check how well mechanical devices are implanted in the heart, such as pacemakers, are working. These devices help to control the heartbeat.
- Check the health of the heart when other diseases or conditions are present. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes, and a family history of early heart disease