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The most common uses for ECGs dissected

In cardiovascular medicine, few medical experts would disagree that the ECG is one of the most used and effective tests around.

While some tests are not suited to certain types of patients, the ECG is something that can be used on the vast majority of people who require one. The fact there are so many different types of ECG electrodes shows just how flexible this form of test is, and how patients, young or old, can benefit from it.

However, while it might be an acronym which is commonly branded around, those people who have not undergone the test don’t tend to know what it is used for. If you fall into said category, it’s time to read on.

Short for an electrocardiogram, the test will check the rhythm of your heart and the general electrical activity in the area. As we have already briefly mentioned, it uses electrodes to do this, with these being attached at various point of the body and sending the signals to a machine.

Both hospitals and clinics will carry out the test and to sum up just who its suitable for, here are some of the main conditions that it can help diagnose.

Heart attacks

Let’s start with the most common reasons an ECG is conducted.

If a patient has suffered from a suspected heart attack, the signals from the ECG can be used to confirm whether or not this is the case. It can help determine whether or not blood to the heart has been stopped and ultimately caused the attack.

This is regarded as the most important test for anyone who has a suspected heart attack. Most hospitals will carry it out within minutes of the patient being admitted and it will also help determine what type of heart attack a patient has suffered (if any).

Coronary heart disease

Following on from the above, it probably won’t come as a surprise to see that coronary heart disease is detected in a similar way.

Admittedly, the test isn’t carried out quite as urgently and some doctors might rely on other forms of test to diagnose this form of disease.

It’s not necessarily the standard ECG that is performed either. Some doctors might go for the ECG stress test, in a bid to determine if the problem is occurring during exercise.

Arrhythmias

Considering the fact that Arrhythmias revolves around heart rhythm problems, it stands to reason that the EPG is the main way to diagnose it.

While there are several types of this condition, an ECG will almost always be turned to in a bid to diagnose them. Again, it’s not necessarily the standard ECG that is used here – sometimes patients might be given a portable device, such as the Holter monitor, depending on their circumstances.

Cardiomyopathy

There are umpteen forms of Cardiomyopathy; this is actually a general term which refers to the walls of heart chambers becoming damaged. The knock-on effect of this is that it becomes difficult for the heart to pump blood around the body, which is why the EPG is often turned to in a bid to diagnose the problem.