Electrocardiography (ECG OR EKG ) is the process of recording the electrical activity of heart over a period of time using electrodes placed on a patient’s body. These electrodes detect the tiny electrical changes on the skin that arise from the heart muscle depolarizing during each heartbeat.
It is routinely used to assess the electrical and muscular functions of the heart.
With each heartbeat, an electrical signal moves from the top of the heart to the bottom. As it travels, the signal causes the heart to contract and pump blood. The process repeats with each new heartbeat.
An ECG machine records these electrical signals across multiple heart beats and produces an ECG strip that is interpreted by a healthcare professional.
To the trained clinician, an ECG conveys a large amount of information about the structure of the heart and the function of its electrical conduction system. Among other things, an ECG can be used to measure the rate and rhythm of heartbeats, the size and position of the heart chambers, the presence of any damage to the heart’s muscle cells or conduction system, the effects of cardiac drugs, and the function of implanted pacemakers.