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Version 2.0

 ECG History | ECG Evolution | The EKG Glove™ | Glove Benefits | Instructions | The Future | Videos

What is an Electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG)

An electrocardiogram (ECG), or Elektrokardiogramm (EKG) as it is called in Europe, is an exam that measures and records the electrical activity of the heart. These measurements and reports are analyzed by doctors who specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cardiovascular disease - the #1 cause of death in the U.S.

Using a series of cables, electrodes and plugs, a traditional ECG medical device detects, amplifies and records the tiny electrical changes on the skin that are caused when the heart muscle depolarizes during each heartbeat. Usually more than 2 electrodes are used and they can be combined into a number of pairs. For example: Left arm (LA), right arm (RA) and left leg (LL) electrodes form the three pairs (LA+RA, LA+LL, and RA+LL). The output from each pair is known as a lead. Each lead is said to look at the heart from a different angle. Different types of ECGs can be referred to by the number of leads that are recorded (for example; a 3-lead, 5-lead or 12-lead ECG). A complete 12-lead ECG is one in which 12 different electrical signals are recorded at approximately the same time and these will often be used as a "one-off" recording to produce an ECG which is traditionally printed out as a paper copy and examined by a cardiologist.

Performing an ECG exam is the best way to measure and diagnose abnormal rhythms of the heart,[1] particularly abnormal rhythms caused by damage to the conductive tissue that carries electrical signals and abnormal rhythms caused by electrolyte imbalances.[2] In a myocardial infarction (MI), the ECG can identify if the heart muscle has been damaged in a specific region of the heart.[3]

Referenced Sources:

1. Braunwald E. (Editor), Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, Fifth Edition, p. 108, Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders Co., 1997. ISBN 0-7216-5666-8.

2. Van Mieghem, C; Sabbe, M; Knockaert, D (2004). "The clinical value of the EKG in noncardiac conditions". Chest 125 (4): 1561–76. doi:10.1378/chest.125.4.1561. PMID 15078775.

3. 2005 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care - Part 8: Stabilization of the Patient With Acute Coronary Syndromes. Circulation 2005; 112: IV-89 - IV-110.

ECG History | ECG Evolution | The EKG Glove™ | Glove Benefits | Instructions | The Future | Videos