An EKG is an electrocardiogram (abbreviation is from the original German word: elektrokardiogramm), which is a scan that is designed to detect and record the electrical activity of your heart. This is accomplished via electrodes placed strategically at various spots on your limbs and chest.
The primary purpose of the EKG is to measure the rate at which your heart is beating. It also determines whether the heart muscle is performing at a healthy rhythm, and whether or not the beats are irregular or steady. Essentially, the electrical pulses transported through the heart are measured for their strength and timing.
The test is a simple procedure that is painless, and it is often included as part of a patient’s regular checkup. A patient might also have an EKG prior to surgery.
Health Conditions Detected by an EKG Scan
The following heart problems can be determined by an electrocardiogram:
Arrhythmia is a problem with the rhythm of the heartbeat. The heart should beat steadily; but when the patient’s electrical heartbeat impulses fail to fire properly, then the heart may beat too quickly, too slowly, or at irregular intervals.
The person who has arrhythmia may occasionally experience a fluttering sensation in their chest. In some cases, the heart may feel as if it’s racing for no reason. Not all arrhythmias are dangerous, but an EKG can detect whether the heart is out of rhythm and how dangerous the issue is.
A normal heartbeat or rhythm is controlled by the electrical impulses that originate in the sinus node, which is located the upper right-hand chamber of the heart. The sinus node begins the heartbeat by producing electrical impulses. The atrioventricular node slows down the electrical signal before it continues to the ventricles. The process is supposed to be carried out smoothly, and an EKG will determine this efficiency.
A heart with a normal rhythm will beat between 60 and 100 beats per minute. When the heart beats too fast, it is in tachycardia, and the resting heart rate will be more than 100 beats per minute. If the resting heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute, it is in bradycardia. These issues may need to be treated with a pacemaker.
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is suddenly blocked. Although this happens suddenly, the buildup that caused the blockage – a combination of cholesterol, fat, and other plaque-building materials – gathered over time. An EKG can detect whether a person is having a heart attack or if they had one previously.
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease, also called atherosclerotic heart disease, interferes with how the blood flows – and an EKG can detect this issue. In the case of an enlarged heart, narrowing of the arteries can also be detected.
Urgent Care in Rochester
If you are concerned about your heart health, Cornerstone Urgent Care Center is here for you. Ours is a walk-in clinic that can provide diagnostic services as necessary, including digital X-rays and electrocardiograms.
If you have any questions, call us today at (585) 207-0088. We look forward to seeing you here!