An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a test that shows the electrical activity of the heart.
An electrical signal in your heart starts each heartbeat, causing the heart muscle to squeeze (contract). Normally, this signal starts in the upper right chamber of the heart (the right atrium) at a place called the sinus node. The signal then follows normal pathways to the upper left atrium and to the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles). These electrical signals can be detected through wires placed on the skin. The ECG records these electrical signals.
Your healthcare provider can diagnose heart problems and other conditions by looking at the pattern made by the electric signal. An ECG, often done along with other tests, can show:
An ECG is a painless test that takes less than 5 minutes. It can be done in a healthcare provider's office, clinic, or hospital. Small sticky pads are put on your child’s chest, arms, and legs. Long wires will be attached to the pads and connected to a recording machine. Your child needs to lie still and not talk while the test is being done. You will be able to stay with your child while the test is being done.
After the test, your child can go home and go back to normal activities. Any skin irritation from the pads will go away quickly after they are removed.
Ask your healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
There is no risk from this test.