An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a medical test that detects heart problems by measuring the electrical activity generated by the heart as it contracts. A doctor may recommend an ECG for people who may be at risk of heart disease because there is a family history of heart disease, or because they smoke, are overweight, have diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. A doctor may also recommend an ECG for people who are displaying symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness, dizziness, fainting or fast or irregular heartbeats. The ECG is a safe and non-invasive procedure with no known risks.https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/ecg-test
The three major types of ECG are:
- Resting ECG – you lie down for this type of ECG. No movement is allowed during the test, as electrical impulses generated by other muscles may interfere with those generated by your heart. This type of ECG usually takes 5 to 10 minutes
- Ambulatory ECG – if you have an ambulatory or Holter ECG you wear a portable recording device for at least 24 hours. You are free to move around normally while the monitor is attached. This type of ECG is used for people whose symptoms are intermittent (stop-start) and may not show up on a resting ECG, and for people recovering from heart attack to ensure that their heart is functioning properly. You record your symptoms in a diary, and note when they occur so that your own experience can be compared with the ECG
- Exercise Stress Test (EST) – this test is used to record your ECG while you ride on an exercise bike or walk on a treadmill. This type of ECG takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete.
If the interpretation of your ECG readings is done by a physician, the report will be forwarded to your healthcare provider within 3-5 working days. It’s important for you to discuss your ECG results directly with your healthcare provider as they will recommend whether additional testing or care is required.