An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) monitors your heart's electrical activity.

You may need to remove your clothing from the waist up and put on a patient gown. Electrodes (small sticky patches) will be placed on your chest, arms and legs and are connected to wires that will transmit the electrical signal to the EKG machine. After approximately 15 seconds, a graph will print out and the technologist will remove the wires and electrodes and assist you with your clothing if needed. Your doctor will look at the wave pattern and use this information to measure:

  • Effects of drugs or devices used to regulate the heart, such as a pacemaker
  • Heart rhythm and heart rate
  • Size and position of your heart chambers

The test takes about five to ten minutes to complete.