Electrocardiography is a commonly used, noninvasive procedure for recording electrical changes in the heart. The record, which is called an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), shows the series of waves that relate to the electrical impulses which occur during each beat of the heart.
An ECG is performed by applying tiny wires with adhesive tape to the arms, legs and chest wall. The machine will record the electrical activity of the heart and then print out a paper and/or display it on a monitor so that the cardiologist can interpret the electrical activity. Various cardiac conditions will lead to abnormalities in the ECG. An ECG is often used to diagnose abnormalities in the heart rhythm (arrhythmias), diagnose ischemia (diminished blood flow to the heart) and can help detect abnormalities in the heart muscle and valves.
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