An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a medical test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. It is a non-invasive procedure commonly used to assess the heart’s rhythm and electrical conduction system. During an ECG, small electrodes are placed on the skin of the chest, arms, and legs. These electrodes detect the electrical impulses generated by the heart as it beats and transmit them to a machine, which records the signals as a series of waves on graph paper or a computer screen.

The waves produced on the ECG represent different phases of the cardiac cycle and provide valuable information about the heart’s function.

The main components of an ECG include:

  1. P Wave: Represents the electrical activity associated with atrial depolarization, or contraction of the atria.
  2. QRS Complex: Represents ventricular depolarization, or contraction of the ventricles.
  3. T Wave: Represents ventricular repolarization, or relaxation of the ventricles.

By analyzing the patterns and characteristics of these waves, our GPs can diagnose various cardiac conditions, such as arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms), myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart valve disorders, and other abnormalities in the heart’s electrical activity.

The ECG test is performed in Curragh Grange Family Practice. It is often used as part of routine medical examinations, to evaluate symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, and dizziness, or to monitor patients with known heart conditions. ECGs are generally safe, painless, and quick to perform, making them a valuable tool in the diagnosis and management of cardiovascular diseases.