Electrocardiography (ECG) is the process of recording the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time using electrodes placed on the skin. These electrodes detect the tiny electrical changes on the skin that arise from the heart muscle's electrophysiologic pattern of depolarizing during each heartbeat. It is a very commonly performed cardiology test.
In a conventional 12-lead ECG, 10 electrodes are placed on the patient's limbs and on the surface of the chest. The overall magnitude of the heart's electrical potential is then measured from 12 different angles ("leads") and is recorded over a period of time (usually 10 seconds).
The overall goal of performing electrocardiography is to obtain information about the structure and function of the heart.
Some of the various heart problems that can be diagnosed by ECG include:
- Enlargement of the heart
- Congenital heart defects involving the conducting (electrical) system
- Abnormal rhythm (arrhythmia) – rapid, slow or irregular heart beats
- Damage to the heart such as when one of the heart’s arteries is blocked (coronary occlusion)
- Poor blood supply to the heart
- Abnormal position of the heart
- Heart inflammation – pericarditis or myocarditis
- Cardiac arrest during emergency room or intensive care monitoring
- Disturbances of the heart’s conducting system
- Imbalances in the blood chemicals (electrolytes) that control heart activity.
Our ECG results are sent to cardiac specialists in Brisbane to be interpreted.