An electrocardiogram, or ECG, is a test that records the rhythm and electrical activity of the conduction system of your heart. It is this electrical activity that makes your heart contract, so by measuring it, problems your heart may be having in its rate or rhythm can be identified.

An ECG is painless and takes only about 5 minutes.

Several small, sticky patches are put on your wrists, ankles and chest. These patches are connected to wires which lead to a recording machine. The machine does not give electric shocks or affect your heart in any way.

The machine records a few beats on paper. Your doctor will then review this to see if:

  • there are any problems with your heart rhythm
  • you have had a heart attack recently or a long time ago
  • you have reduced blood supply (ischaemia ischaemia)
  • your heart is working under strain
  • your heart is enlarged.

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