Glossary of Medical Terms

Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)

An electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG) is a test that measures the electrical signals that control heart rhythm. The test measures how electrical impulses move through the heart muscle as it contracts and relaxes.

During an electrocardiogram, small pads (electrodes) are attached to the skin on the chest, arms, and legs. The electrodes are also connected to a machine that translates the electrical activity into line tracings on paper. These tracings are often analyzed by the machine and then carefully reviewed by a doctor for abnormalities. 

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