Electrocardiogram (ECG) Full-time JobMar 16th, 2022 at 10:53 PSU Salem 165 views
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a simple test that can be used to check your heart's rhythm and electrical activity.
Sensors attached to the skin are used to detect the electrical signals produced by your heart each time it beats.
These signals are recorded by a machine and are looked at by a doctor to see if they're unusual.
An ECG may be requested by a heart specialist (cardiologist) or any doctor who thinks you might have a problem with your heart, including your GP.
The test can be carried out by a specially trained healthcare professional at a hospital, a clinic or at your GP surgery.
Despite having a similar name, an ECG isn't the same as an echocardiogram, which is a scan of the heart.
When an ECG is used
An ECG is often used alongside other tests to help diagnose and monitor conditions affecting the heart.
It can be used to investigate symptoms of a possible heart problem, such as chest pain, palpitations (suddenly noticeable heartbeats), dizziness and shortness of breath.
An ECG can help detect:
arrhythmias – where the heart beats too slowly, too quickly, or irregularly
coronary heart disease – where the heart's blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances
heart attacks – where the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked
cardiomyopathy – where the heart walls become thickened or enlarged
A series of ECGs can also be taken over time to monitor a person already diagnosed with a heart condition or taking medication known to potentially affect the heart.
How an ECG is carried out
There are several different ways an ECG can be carried out. Generally, the test involves attaching a number of small, sticky sensors called electrodes to your arms, legs and chest. These are connected by wires to an ECG recording machine.
You don't need to do anything special to prepare for the test. You can eat and drink as normal beforehand.
Before the electrodes are attached, you'll usually need to remove your upper clothing, and your chest may need to be shaved or cleaned. Once the electrodes are in place, you may be offered a hospital gown to cover yourself.
The test itself usually only lasts a few minutes, and you should be able to go home soon afterwards or return to the ward if you're already staying in hospital.
Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
The diagnosis, management, and estimated mortality risk in patients with hypertension have been historically based on clinic or office blood pressure readings. Current evidence indicates that 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring should be an integral part of hypertension care. The 24-hour ambulatory monitors currently available on the market are small devices connected to the arm cuff with tubing that measure blood pressure every 15 to 30 minutes. After 24 hours, the patient returns, and the data are downloaded, including any information requested by the physician in a diary. The most useful information includes the 24-hour average blood pressure, the average daytime blood pressure, the average nighttime blood pressure, and the calculated percentage drop in blood pressure at night. The most widely used criteria for 24-hour measurements are from the American Heart Association 2017 guidelines and the European Society of Hypertension 2018 guidelines. Two important scenarios described in this document are white coat hypertension, in which patients have normal blood pressures at home but high blood pressures during office visits, and masked hypertension, in which patients are normotensive in the clinic but have high blood pressures outside of the office. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has made changes in its policy to allow reimbursement for a broader use of 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring within some specific guidelines. Primary care physicians should make more use of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, especially in patients with difficult to manage hypertension.