Electrocardiography (EKG, ECG)
An electrocardiogram — also referred to as EKG or ECG — is a test that measures the electrical signals that control the rhythm of your heartbeat. We perform many electrocardiograms at CPMC San Francsisco, under the guidance of our team of top heart specialists. Your cardia specialist can look for patterns among these heartbeats and rhythms to diagnose various heart conditions.
An electrocardiogram may show:
- Evidence of heart enlargement.
- Signs of insufficient blood flow to the heart.
- Signs of a new or previous injury to the heart (heart attack).
- Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias).
- Changes in the electrical activity of the heart caused by an electrolyte imbalance in the body.
- Signs of inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis).
Electrocardiography is one of the most useful diagnostic tools for heart health, and we use it to help our San Francisco patients identify the best heart treatment options and plan for them. All tests and tools, including EKG / ECG / Electrocardiography, are part of a larger philosophy of care: working to identify the best cardiac care program for each unique individual.
- Who needs an EKG?
- What's the difference between an EKG and a regular cardiac stress test?
- Understanding Your Test Results
Who needs an EKG?
Your doctor or heart specialist may use this painless, noninvasive test to detect irregularities in your heart rhythm, structural abnormalities in your heart or problems with the supply of blood and oxygen to your heart. An EKG can also confirm if you're having a heart attack or if you've had a heart attack in the past — but it cannot predict whether you will have a heart attack in the future.
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What's the difference between an EKG and a regular cardiac stress test?
During an electrocardiogram, various electrodes — often 12 to 15 — are attached to your arms, legs and chest. Electrodes are sticky patches applied with a gel to help detect and conduct the electrical currents of your heart. The test normally takes just a few minutes and is performed while you are lying down.
However, if your heart problems occur most often during exercise, your doctor may ask you to walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike during your EKG. This is called a stress test. If you have a medical condition that makes it difficult for you to walk, medication may be injected to stimulate your heart.
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Understanding Your Test Results
During your EKG, the doctor will look for a consistent, even heart rhythm and a heart rate between 60 and 100 beats a minute. Variations provide a wealth of clues about your heart health, including:
- Heart rate. Normally, heart rate can be measured by simply checking your pulse. But an EKG may be helpful if your pulse is difficult to feel or too fast or too irregular to count accurately.
- Heart rhythm. An EKG can help your doctor identify an unusually fast heartbeat (tachycardia), unusually slow heartbeat (bradycardia) or other heart rhythm irregularities (arrhythmias). These conditions may occur when any part of the heart's electrical system malfunctions. In other cases, medication can trigger arrhythmias.
- Heart attack. An EKG can often show evidence of a previous heart attack or one that's in progress. The patterns on the ECG may indicate which part of your heart has been damaged, as well as the general extent of the damage.
- Inadequate blood and oxygen supply to the heart. An EKG can often help your doctor determine whether chest pain is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle, a prime characteristic of coronary artery disease.
- Structural abnormalities. An EKG can provide clues about enlargement or inflammation of the heart, congenital heart abnormalities and other heart problems.
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Identifying the Best Treatment Options and Electrocardiography, EKG, ECG Specialist for You
Our commitment at CPMC is to help each patient identify the best doctor for their diagnosis and course of treatment. To find the best specialist for Electrocardiography, EKG, ECG , we want to empower our patients to participate in their health care journey. This means encouraging a frank discussion with the doctor about Electrocardiography, EKG, ECG, to identify all appropriate treatment options as well as to discuss symptoms, issues, outcomes, etc., when relevant for Electrocardiography, EKG, ECG. The first step of your journey is research - using online tools such as CPMC's to investigate and understand Electrocardiography, EKG, ECG. The second step is to schedule an initial consultation with a physician or specialist. In some cases, you'll need to go through your primary care physician if you do not have a referral. If you already have a referral,you can schedule an appointment directly with the Electrocardiography, EKG, ECG specialist. The third step is for the specialist in Electrocardiography, EKG, ECG to meet with you and review your history. As part of the diagnosis, you may need testing, so the doctor (surgeon or specialist) can discuss your treatment options and the both of you can determine your best course of action. We have patients at CPMC coming from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California, and many from throughout the United States with respect to Electrocardiography, EKG, ECG. Whether you are from San Francisco, Marin, the San Francisco Bay Area generally or any other location, our physicians will provide the hands-on care you deserve.
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California Pacific's Heart and Vascular Center
California Pacific's Heart and Vascular Center is supported by one of the best heart hospital/center networks in the USA, offering quality, comprehensive patient-centered cardiovascular care by a team of top heart surgeons and physicians with leading-edge technology. Serving the entire San Francisco Bay Area, including San Francisco and Marin County, as well as the entire Northern California region, our team has many of the best cardiovascular surgeons and physicians in California and the United States.
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