The major function of the heart is to force blood in to a closed system of blood vessels within which the blood is confines and circulated to the entire body. Heart’s activity can be compared to a muscular pump equipped with one way valves. With each heartbeat, an electrical impulse travels through the heart and causes the heart muscle to squeeze and pump blood from the heart. These electrical impulses, transmitted through the heart, are spread throughout the body. This electrical activity of the heart can be detected on the body’s surface and recorded with an instrument called an electrocardiograph. A graphic record of heart activity is called an electrocardiogram. An electrocardiogram is also called an EKG or ECG. Sometimes the test is called a 12-lead EKG or 12-lead ECG. This is because the heart's electrical activity most often is recorded from 12 different places on the body at the same time. A healthcare provider may recommend an electrocardiogram if a person has signs and symptoms that suggest a heart problem (National Institutes of Health, 2010). Examples of signs and symptoms may include chest pain, breathing problems, unusual heart sounds, palpitation etc. However, this test can screen for early heart disease that has no symptoms. An ECG may be done as part of a routine health exam and may be used for routine screening before major surgery. Also, this test can be ordered to check how well heart medicine or a medical device, such as a pacemaker, is working (National Institutes of Health, 2010). ECG results can be used by the healthcare provider to help plan treatment for a heart condition. Different types of electrocardiograms
Many heart problems are present all the time, and thus a commonly used 12-lead ECG test is sufficient to detect any of these problems. However, certain issues, such as those related to irregular heartbeats, can come and go. They may be present for only a few minutes out of the day, or while performing specific...
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