Modern diagnostic technologies are an essential tool for finding out what’s causing your heart-related symptoms, and none more so than the electrocardiogram, also known as EKG or ECG. Henock Saint-Jacques, MD, FACC, is a highly experienced heart specialist at Harlem Cardiology on Madison Avenue in New York City who uses state-of-the-art EKG and other diagnostic tools to provide his patients with a swift and accurate diagnosis. Call the East Harlem office or book an appointment online today to learn more about EKG testing.
EKG, or ECG, is short for electrocardiogram, a type of diagnostic technology that records your heart’s electrical signals. An EKG is one of the most common methods of checking whether your heart is functioning correctly.
The procedure for carrying out an EKG is simple and painless. You lay on an examination table with electrodes attached to your chest, and sometimes other areas such as your arms and legs. The electrodes record the electrical activity that’s making your heartbeat and display the information as waves on a computer monitor.
An EKG reading provides information such as:
Dr. Saint-Jacques can measure your heart rate by checking your pulse, but an EKG provides a more accurate reading if your pulse is hard to find or difficult to count. EKG readings show whether you have tachycardia (too fast a heart rate) or bradycardia (too slow a heart rate).
An EKG also reveals arrhythmias, which are heart irregularities. Sometimes arrhythmias are due to side effects of medication, but they may also indicate a problem with the function of your heart. Heart block is a type of arrhythmia that affects both your heart rate and rhythm due to a slowing down or other disruption of the electrical signals in your heart.
An EKG can identify a heart attack, aiding prompt diagnosis and potentially revealing what damage your heart sustained and where. An EKG can also show whether you’ve had a heart attack previously.
The EKG reading can identify if there’s adequate blood flowing through your heart and whether enough oxygen is reaching it.
An EKG can indicate whether there are heart defects, enlargement, or other abnormalities.
If you’re experiencing symptoms that could be due to heart problems, an EKG is a fast and accurate way of identifying any dysfunction in your heart. Symptoms that would warrant an EKG include:
In some instances, a standard EKG can’t detect the source of the problem because it needs to be recording while you’re experiencing symptoms. If you only have symptoms occasionally or at certain times, chances are you won’t experience any during the few minutes a normal EKG takes.
If this is the case, Dr. Saint-Jacques can give you portable EKG devices such as a Holter monitor or a cardiac event monitor, which you wear for more extended periods. The Holter monitor continuously records heart activity over several days, while the event monitor records heart activity when you’re experiencing symptoms.
To help protect your heart health, call Harlem Cardiology on Madison Avenue or schedule an appointment online today.