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Electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure electrical activity of your heart

An electrocardiogram or ECG measures the electrical activity of your heart.

What is an ECG?

An electrocardiogram or ECG measures the electrical activity of your heart. Analysis of the results can indicate any damage to the heart muscle. An ECG can be used to assess if you have had a heart attack or evidence of a previous heart attack. The test may also be used to detect:

  • Arrhythmias
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart attacks
  • Cardiomyopathy 

There are three types of ECG, recommended according to the symptoms you are displaying:

  • Resting ECG, when you are just lying down in a comfortable position
  • Stress or exercise ECG, taken whilst using a treadmill or exercise bike
  • Ambulatory ECG,  where you are required to carry a small device throughout the day and monitor the heart 

What happens during an ECG?

Electrodes are placed on your wrists, ankles and chest as you relax. The electrodes are connected to a machine recording all the electrical signals from your heart. An ECG is a completely painless test and takes less than a minute to perform once the leads are in position. After the test, the electrodes are removed.

After the test, your doctor will review the readings of the ECG machine which appear as a series of waves.

How safe is it?

The electrocardiogram is a safe, simple and painless test that takes less than a minute to carry out. There will be no electricity put through your body. You may experience a slight discomfort once the electrodes are being removed, just like removing a plaster.

Specialists offering Electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure electrical activity of your heart

Dr Simon John Winterton

Consultant Cardiologist and Interventional Cardiologist

MA MB BS FRCP

BMI The Winterbourne Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Saqib Chowdhary

Consultant Cardiologist

MB BS, MRCP(UK), PhD

BMI The Alexandra Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Robin Taylor

Consultant Cardiologist

MRCP MBCHB

BMI The Droitwich Spa Hospital 1 more BMI The Priory Hospital

View profile Book online

Dr Brian Gould

Consultant Cardiologist

MBBS, MD, FRCP

BMI The Blackheath Hospital 3 more BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital BMI The London Independent Hospital BMI The Sloane Hospital

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Dr Aamir Ayub

Consultant Cardiologist

MBBS, Dip card (London), MD, FESC, FRCP (Lon)

BMI The Alexandra Hospital

View profile Book online

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