Myths and facts about ECG

 

ECG

What is ECG?

ECG or Electrocardiogram is one of the popular and important tools to monitor heart activity. It is a test that seeks to identify heart problems by understanding electrical activity of your heart.

The heart pumps blood into your body and is made up of four chambers – two atrium (previously calle auricles) and two ventricles. A natural electrical system causes the heart muscle to contract and this pumps blood through the heart to the lungs and the rest of the body through the circulatory system.

During ECG, several electrodes are attached to your skin (on arms, legs & chest). These are connected to a machine that traces your heart activity.

What ECG does?

By understanding heart’s electrical activity, some of the things that ECG seeks to do are:

  • Check the overall heart health.
  • Find the causes of heart diseases or symptoms like irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, dizziness etc.
  • Check side effects on heart in case of certain medications.
  • Check the working of mechanical devices in heart (if any)

 

Here are some common myths associated with ECG

Myh – There is a risk of electric shock

Fact – ECG is a completely safe test and there is no risk of electric shocks. No electricity passes through your body during the test.

 

Myth – Normal ECG is an indicator of good heart health.

Fact – While ECG can often be used to detect heart health, it is not always true. Sometimes there is normal ECG despite presence of heart issues, while sometimes it is the converse.

 

Myth – ECG can detect heart attacks/ heart failures

Fact – Heart failure is a failure of satisfactory contraction of heart muscles when needed & is not reflected in the ECG. In several heart attacks, ECG may be normal in the beginning for some time.

 

Myth: Normal heart rate indicates normal blood pressure

Fact: Heart rate & blood pressure are not necessarily correlated. Blood pressure can be either high or low without you even realizing it. Best way to know it is to check your blood pressure regularly.

 

Myth – Like other diagnostic tests, ECG is also an objective test.

Fact – ECG helps to supplement doctor’s clinical diagnosis. ECG should always be correlated with the clinical diagnosis. It is subject to interpretation and this often depends upon the skill of the doctor

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