What Is the EKG Test and What Is It Used For?Did you know that your heart contains its own natural electrical system? While this fascinating system may not include wires or batteries, it is responsible for causing the muscles of your heart to contract and pump blood to the rest of your body. Any disruption in your heart’s electrical activity could result in it not beating as it should. If your physician or cardiologist suspects a problem with your heart’s electrical system, he’ll most likely want you to undergo an EKG test to help identify the issue.
How Does the EKG Test Work?An EKG test, also known as an electrocardiogram, is a diagnostic procedure used to measure and monitor the heart’s electrical activity. An EKG machine is used to take the readings and convert the data into a chart comprised of “waves,” that resemble a mountain range. Physicians then interpret the various wave patterns to determine if a potential electrical activity issue is present.
What Is the EKG Test Specifically Used For?A doctor may request that you undergo an EKG as part of a routine physical and preventative care measure, especially if you’re an older patient. Other common EKG uses include helping to determine the cause of shortness of breath, chest pain or other symptoms that could be indicators of heart disease. Additionally, a doctor may order an EKG to assess heart health in patients afflicted with other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol or diabetes.
The EKG Testing ProcessAn EKG test is a noninvasive procedure that only takes a few minutes. The test is administered by a healthcare professional known as an EKG Technician. The tech will generally have you lie down on a table or bed, and then affix small discs called electrodes to various points on your body. These electrodes are attached to the EKG machine, which traces your heart activity. At the conclusion of the test, the EKG Technician will create a printout of the results and provide it to your physician, who will analyze the various spikes and dips represented on the printout. The entire process is painless. There is no risk of electrical shock or injury.
Other Types of EKG TestsIn some cases, your doctor may want to monitor your heart’s electrical activity over an extended period of time or while you’re participating in physical activity. An ambulatory EKG, where a portable monitoring device and electrodes are attached to your body for a 24-hour period, will take readings as you go about your normal daily activities. An exercise EKG, known as a stress test or treadmill test, is used to monitor electrical activity while your heart is beating at an elevated rate.
The Role of the EKG Technician in the Testing ProcessThe EKG Technician plays a vital role in the testing procedure. A properly trained tech will put the patient at ease and ensure that he remains still as the test progresses. The tech is also responsible for properly attaching the electrodes and monitoring the equipment during the test, and creating the printout that is supplied to the attending physician. While the test is in progress, the tech will ensure that the testing equipment remains in proper working condition and that the testing area is cleaned and sanitized after each procedure. The EKG Tech should strictly adhere to all established testing procedures to avoid jeopardizing the test results.
Train to Become an EKG Technician at Vista CollegeIf you’re interested in a challenging and rewarding career as an EKG Technician, Vista College can help you reach your goal. Our program will prepare you to sit for and pass the EKG Technician Certification exam, which is a crucial step for anyone seeking employment in this rapidly growing career field. You can complete your training in as little as six months when pursuing your studies full-time. The Professional Development Division of Vista College specializes in providing cost-effective training opportunities that help working adults successfully make a seamless transition into an exciting new career.