If you’ve ever watched a medical drama on television you’ve probably heard someone shout for “an EKG, stat!” But did you ever really know what they were referring to? The EKG, more formally known as the Electrocardiogram, is a test used to monitor the electrical impulses in a patient’s heart. It’s a very common assessment with no known risks which can be done in an outpatient manner.
So, while the doctors on your favorite medical drama may shout about EKGs as if something dramatic is about to happen, the actual test is much more relaxed than they lead you to believe.

If your cardiologist has ordered an electrocardiogram test for you, it’s probably because he or she has questions about how well your heart is functioning. From this test, they can determine whether your heart rate and rhythm are normal, and if there is any damage to your heart tissue or its electrical systems. One of the most common questions we get about any of our diagnostic tests is what patients can expect to experience during and after the assessment. Here is a rundown about what to expect from your EKG.

During The Test
Your EKG can be performed at your doctor’s office, so most patients won’t need to set foot in a hospital. This can be a relief for many patients as hospitals tend to be more intimidating than the comfort and familiarity of the cardiologist’s office. Your physician most likely will not perform the assessment, instead a technician will place electrodes on your chest. Each electrode is used to monitor the electrical activity coming from your heart and give your cardiologist an idea of how well the muscle is functioning. The entire test doesn’t take long, and all you have to do is lay still and allow the equipment to do its job.

After The Test
The great thing about this test is that there is absolutely no downtime afterward. Once the test is complete you can continue on with your day as planned. Your cardiologist will read the results and let you know whether or not they warrant any further testing. In some cases, you may even get the results of your electrocardiogram the very same day. Either way, this simple yet powerful test will give you and your medical team all the information you need to move forward with your cardiac treatment plan.

We come into contact with patients every day who have great fear around cardiac testing, primarily because they don’t know what to expect. As you’ve seen here, the EKG is a quick and easy test which produces important data. If you’re curious to learn more about what to expect from our other diagnostic or surgical procedures, contact us today.