Overview of EKG

An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) records the electrical activity of your heart. An EKG provides information about your heart's rate and rhythm. It also diagnoses ischemia (lack of oxygen to the heart muscle), heart attacks, and a variety of other heart conditions.

To perform an EKG, your healthcare provider places sensing electrodes on the skin of your chest, arms, and legs. The electrodes are small adhesive patches with wires that connect to a monitor. The monitor captures and displays your heart's electrical activity and can record it on graph paper. These recordings are often called tracings.

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During an EKG, sensing electrodes are placed on your skin. The number of electrodes you'll wear during your EKG depends on the kind of information your providers want to capture. The most common test is a 12-lead EKG test. This test uses 10 electrodes to generate 12 different views of the heart's electrical activity.

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