Maiden Lane Medical
Cardiologists located in New York, NY
If you’re a patient in need of an electrocardiogram (EKG) for a standard heart health check-up, an insurance physical, or as part of a pre-surgery physical, the doctors at Maiden Lane Medical can help.
Conveniently located in New York City, our practices in Lower Manhattan and Midtown can provide this service.
What is an electrocardiogram (EKG)?
An electrocardiogram — often referred to as an EKG or ECG — is a diagnostic test that measures the heart’s electrical activity. A heartbeat is caused by an electrical impulse. That makes the muscles contract and push blood in and out of the heart’s upper and lower chambers.
The electrical impulses in the heart are often referred to as waves. When they are measured with an EKG, the doctor can see the timing of the wave through the upper and lower chambers of the heart.
Irregularities in the waves on your EKG strip can help your doctor identify any problem or possible source of a problem such as chest pain or dizziness.
What does an EKG test show?
An EKG provides two types of information: the length of time it takes for an electrical wave to move through your heart and the amount of electrical activity in the organ.
Irregularities in the heart’s electrical activity can help your doctor diagnose various cardiovascular health problems, such as arrhythmia or an enlarged heart.
Why would I need an EKG?
You might need an EKG test as part of an employment or routine annual physical. However, in most cases, your physician may suggest an EKG if you have heart disease symptoms, such as:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- A pounding, racing, or fluttering heartbeat
EKGs help doctors diagnose several cardiovascular health issues. For example, it’s a highly effective tool for identifying irregularities in a patient’s heartbeat.
What types of heart disease can a doctor identify with an EKG?
The information provided by the EKG will tell the doctor if a patient’s heartbeat is irregular, fast, or slow. The test can also reveal if parts of the heart are working harder than others or compensating for weakness in another part of the heart.
These tests can also provide diagnostic clues about:
- Congenital heart defects (heart abnormalities you’re born with)
- An imminent heart attack
- Coronary artery disease (reduced blood flow to the heart)
- Congestive heart failure (your heart doesn’t pump enough blood through your body)
- Pericarditis (infection or inflammation in the fluid around your heart)
- Problems with the valves in your heart
- Cardiomyopathy (thickened or enlarged heart muscles)
You might also need an electrocardiogram to determine if your heart medication or pacemaker is working correctly.
How should I prepare for an EKG test?
You don’t need to do much to prepare for an electrocardiogram. However, you should wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Don’t apply any creams or lotions to your skin as they could interfere with the electrodes.
Make sure your doctor has a list of all the medications, supplements, and vitamins you take regularly. If necessary, your care provider will provide individualized preparation instructions.
The test is non-invasive, and you won’t need a friend or family member to escort you to and from home.
What happens during an EKG?
When you have an electrocardiogram, a nurse or technician will attach up to 12 electrodes to your arms, legs, and chest. You may need to remove any body hair before the test to ensure the electrodes stick to your skin.
Initially, you lie on a table, staying still and calm during the test. However in some cases, you walk on a treadmill. As it gradually increases the intensity of your activity, it will provide information about how your heart responds to stress.
If you’re unable to walk on a treadmill, your doctor can provide a medication that increases your heart rate, mimicking the effects of physical exertion.
How long does an EKG take?
In most cases, the test only takes around 10 minutes, although your appointment will last longer as the team needs to prepare you for the ECG and attach the electrodes to your chest and back.
What happens if my EKG test shows an irregularity?
Irregular EKG results can indicate many things. In some cases, abnormalities show a normal variation in your heart rhythm. However, if your doctor finds irregularities that could indicate a heart attack or another problem, they typically order additional testing such as echocardiograms.
If the EKG allows your doctor to diagnose a specific cardiovascular health issue, they discuss your treatment options. Treatments vary depending on your individual needs.
Where can I have an EKG done?
Maiden Lane Medical offers ECGs at their offices in Midtown and Lower Manhattan.
If you think you’re having a heart attack, you should call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room for immediate medical assistance.
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