Did you know that your heartbeat is triggered by an electrical impulse? According to the experts at Mayo Clinic, specific cells — dubbed pacemaker cells — create electrical impulses in the upper right chamber of your heart. While this is a cool fact all by itself, it also explains how EKG provides valuable information about your heart. These tests can track and record the electrical signals in your heart — and they play a big role in creating your treatment plans.
At Harlem Cardiology in East Harlem, New York, Dr. Henock Saint-Jaques and his highly skilled team of cardiologists use EKG testing to make sure that your heart is healthy and functioning correctly.
If you’re new to this type of diagnostic testing, review this article and learn what an EKG can reveal about your heart health.
EKG is short for electrocardiogram, which explains why you might see EKG written as ECG. Both of these abbreviations refer to the same test.
An EKG is a noninvasive, diagnostic test. This means that an EKG is used to diagnose heart conditions and assess the health of your heart. An EKG does this by measuring (and then recording) the electrical signals in your heart.
The results of your EKG reveal valuable information about your heart including:
An EKG records your heart rate as well as your heart rhythm. When your heartbeat is not regular, it’s called cardiac arrhythmia. This means that your heart might beat too fast, too slow, or it may skip a beat. Arrhythmia can cause dizziness, but an EKG can diagnose the condition so you can get the medication you need to correct your heart rhythm.
Enlargement of heart
In addition to providing information about your heart rate, an EKG also reveals if your heart is enlarged. Hypertension — high blood pressure — is one cause of enlargement of the heart. Enlarged hearts may struggle to pump enough blood efficiently.
Evidence of a prior heart attack
According to the American Heart Association, it’s possible that some people have silent heart attacks, meaning they don’t realize they even had one. An EKG can detect evidence of a past heart attack, or myocardial infarction. Knowing you had a heart attack won’t undo the damage, but it can help you get the care you need to reduce your risk of future heart attacks.
Preparing for your upcoming EKG
An EKG is a painless test, and it’s easy to prepare for it. During your test, electrodes (which are sticky sensors) are placed on your chest. These sensors pick up the electrical activity in your heart and record the results on a piece of paper.
At Harlem Cardiology, we are pleased to offer comprehensive cardiac care. Whether you are just learning about EKGs or you already manage an underlying condition, we are here to help keep your heart as healthy as possible.
If you’re concerned about atrial fibrillation for yourself or a family member, make an appointment at Harlem Cardiology today by calling our East Harlem, New York, clinic at 646-381-2181. You can also request an appointment online anytime.