An electrocardiogram, or EKG, is a diagnostic procedure for assessing heart health. You may have seen one before — its distinctive display of the heart rhythm has become a mainstay in many medical drama shows. Even in real life, the electrocardiogram is a popular way to diagnose heart problems.
An EKG’s noninvasive feature and richness of data collection can provide doctors with many insights into your health. Here are some of the valuable information that your doctor can obtain from an EKG.
Heart rate is one of the most fundamental findings of an EKG reading. By directly measuring the electrical impulses generated by the heart, an EKG machine can give accurate measurements of your heart rate at any moment. EKG machines are also useful for patients in intensive care, as they can immediately warn doctors if the patient’s heart develops an abnormal rhythm.
Aside from the overall speed of your heart, an EKG can determine the duration of each section of the heart rhythm. Certain conditions, such as an electrolyte imbalance, or the presence of specific drugs can alter the pattern of heart conductions. Specific cardiac rhythm segments can have abnormal lengths, and these aberrations can be picked up by a doctor who can provide appropriate treatments.
Heart Conduction Health
Each heartbeat involves intricate coordination among various components of the heart. Cardiac muscle relies on natural pacemakers that generate regular impulses. These pulses travel through set pathways and cause each portion of the heart to contract sequentially. Problems with either these natural pacemakers or conduction pathways can cause heart rhythm problems called arrhythmias.
While some arrhythmias have apparent symptoms, other heart rhythm abnormalities may remain undetected for many months. However, doctors can detect the presence of arrhythmias through EKG tests. By measuring the behavior of electrical impulses from the heart, doctors can better prescribe treatments for arrhythmias before they cause more problems.
Assessing Heart Attack Damage
Despite its name, not all heart attacks have noticeable symptoms. However, the loss of blood supply can destroy cardiac muscle cells and leave permanent damage. Early treatment and proper care are crucial for improving recovery and reducing the risk of future cardiac events.
With EKG measurements, doctors can estimate the severity of the damage and which portions of the heart lost blood supply. Doctors can also see if a patient had a previous heart attack since the lasting heart damage influences the appearance of EKG readings.
Given that the heart generates electric signals to contract, any structural abnormalities can influence the characteristics of these impulses. Doctors who show concern about possible heart problems can use EKG readings to check for signs of enlargement and other structural issues.
Primary Care for Heart Health in North Richland Hills, Texas
An EKG provides doctors with a wealth of medical information, including heart rhythm patterns that can point towards heart conduction problems. Doctors can also use EKG information to check for manifestations of heart attacks and structural defects. To get the best results, work with a facility with experience conducting EKGs and interpreting results.
With our walk-in clinic in North Richland Hills, EMC Express Care provides fast healthcare for urgent cases. Through advanced technology, we balance speed and quality to provide you with optimal healthcare. For inquiries, call us at (817) 503-8800 or schedule an online check-in.