What is an ECG test

Don’t worry it sounds a little complicated but it isn’t and you shouldn’t worry about it. If you are a Heart Failure patient then you will know all about it or you should do!

This is what it is all about

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. It can detect problems with the way the heart beats (rhythm) and check if you have had a heart attack in the past that you were perhaps unaware of.
During the test, self-adhesive electrodes are attached to the skin on the arms, legs and chest. Some areas may need to be shaved. The test is painless, and takes less than a minute to carry out once the electrodes are in place. The electrodes are then removed, and the doctor will review the ECG trace on a computer or paper print-out.

Sometimes you may need a slightly different type of ECG test.

These include:

24-hour ECG recording (sometimes called Holter monitoring or ambulatory ECG)

In this test, the ECG is recorded over 24 hours. The electrodes are attached to your chest, and the wires attached to these electrodes are connected to a small portable tape recorder, which is worn on a belt around your waist. The test is useful because it shows changes in your hearts rhythm (palpitations) that may occur only sporadically.

Exercise ECG (sometimes called an exercise stress test)

This is an ECG that is recorded while you are walking on a treadmill or cycling on an exercise bike. It records how your heart copes when it has to work harder during exercise.
If your ECG and the results of your blood tests or X-ray are abnormal, then you are more likely to have heart failure. However, it does not mean that heart failure is definitely causing the symptoms. Your doctor will probably want you to have an echocardiogram to decide for sure.