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An EKG, also called an ECG or electrocardiogram, is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. The test is usually done to see how well the heart is functioning. An EKG is a noninvasive, painless test with quick results.

An EKG can be done as part of an annual physical examination or cardiac stress test. A healthcare provider may also order an EKG if you have symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting or heart palpitations.

If you have chest pain and think you may be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

What happens in an EKG test?

During an EKG, sensors (electrodes) that can detect the electrical activity of your heart are attached to your chest and sometimes your limbs. These sensors are usually left on for just a few minutes.

Wires connect the patches to a machine that records your heart’s electrical activity as lines on graph paper. You need to remain still during the test. When the test is over, the healthcare provider will remove the patches.

What will an EKG detect?

Each beat of your heart is triggered by an electrical impulse normally generated from special cells in the upper right chamber of your heart (pacemaker cells). An electrocardiogram records the timing and strength of these signals as they travel through your heart.

EKG results can tell a clinician if a heartbeat is normal or slow, fast or irregular. By looking at an EKG, clinicians may also be able to tell which parts of the heart are working too hard. Abnormal results could be a sign of damage to the heart, a heart defect, past or current heart attack and poor circulation.

Your healthcare provider may order additional tests after looking at your EKG results.

Typically, our test results are provided at the time of your appointment with Benchmark Urgent and Family Care.