What is an electrocardiogram (EKG) test?

An electrocardiogram (EKG) test is a simple, painless procedure that measures electrical signals in your heart. Each time your heart beats, an electrical signal travels through the heart. An EKG can show if your heart is beating at a normal rate and strength. It also helps show the size and position of your heart’s chambers. An abnormal EKG can be a sign of heart disease or damage.

Other names: ECG test

What is it used for?

An EKG test is used to find and/or monitor various heart disorders. These include:

  • Irregular heartbeat (known as arrhythmia)
  • Blocked arteries
  • Heart damage
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack. EKGs are often used in the ambulance, emergency room, or other hospital room to diagnose a suspected heart attack.

An EKG test is sometimes included in a routine exam for middle-aged and older adults, as they have a higher risk of heart disease than younger people.

Source: MedlinePlus