An EKG is a noninvasive test that records the electrical activity (rhythm and rate) of your heart. This painless test is one of the simplest and quickest ways to determine how well your heart works.

What does the EKG machine do?

The machine records the electrical impulses going through your heart onto graph paper, which your doctor will see.

What happens during an EKG?

A traditional EKG is conducted while you're lying down. If necessary, we will ask you to loosen your clothes. The technician will enter information into the EKG cart such as your name, birth date and so on.

The technician will place 10 sticky, plastic electrodes on your body – one on each arm and leg and six on your chest. The technician will clip wires to the electrodes. The wires are connected to the EKG machine that monitors your heart's activity. The machine will begin to capture the electrical impulses. You'll see them on the screen as the familiar spiked line. Each spike represents a heartbeat.

When the technician has a good recording, he or she will save it, unhook you and you're done. You'll be able to get up, adjust your clothing and leave or go on to your next test.

How long will the test last?

The entire procedure should take no more than 10 minutes.

What if I have symptoms during the test?

It's important that you report any symptoms such as chest pain or discomfort, dizziness or shortness of breath to the technician. Our skilled professionals are prepared to handle any symptoms you have have during the test.

When will I know how my EKG turned out?

You will need to get the results of your test from your physician's office.

After we do the EKG, we'll put the information into the Memorial computer system. Your physician will be able to review this unread copy right away either by computer access or by calling us for a faxed copy.

We'll also make it ready for the cardiologist scheduled to read it. If the cardiologist detects any problems, they will be noted on the test. The cardiologist signs the test so your doctor knows a specialist has reviewed it. We will enter this into the computer for your doctor to see. This final report is also available by fax.

If you have more questions about this test or other cardiac or vascular concerns, call 217-605-5112.