An electrocardiogram, also known as an EKG, is a noninvasive test performed in the doctor's office or at the hospital to detect problems with the heart. The most common problem found using an EKG is a heart arrhythmia.
- During an EKG, small electrodes are taped to your chest, arms and legs. These electrodes are connected to a machine that monitors and measures the electrical activity of your heart.
- You will need to lie flat on your back, stay very still and breathe as you normally would during the procedure. You should not talk during the EKG, and your doctor might ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds.
- An EKG should only last between 5 to 10 minutes.
The readings from the test translate the heart's electrical activity to lines on paper. The dips and spikes of the line show the electrical current as it runs through each of the four chambers of your heart. Your doctor will exam your electrocardiogram before giving you results or making a diagnosis on whether your heart's rhythm is normal.