ECG is a test that records the electrical activity of a person’s heart to assess their risk of developing serious heart problems. ECG stands for “electrocardiogram,” and an electrocardiogram is a name given to the graphical representation of these electrical signals.
In general, doctors use ECGs to detect abnormal rhythms in the heart that may cause a person to faint or suffer from chest pain. Your heart specialist in Singapore may also use ECG tests to help diagnose other disorders in your heart, such as blocked arteries, aneurysms, and blood clots.
In addition to diagnosing heart conditions, ECGs are used to monitor the effects of certain medications and procedures on the heart. This is especially true when doctors prescribe treatments for people who have had a previous heart attack or who have suffered cardiac arrest.
How is ECG used to Diagnose Heart Problems?
ECGs are not all the same. In fact, there are many different ways an ECG test can be administered—for example, by having the person lie down or stand up. This is because body position can affect the electrical activity of the heart.
The way someone’s legs are positioned also affects the accuracy of results: for example, if a person lies flat on their back with both legs stretched out straight, and their feet placed apart several inches, it distorts their limb-lead pattern and falsely increases electrical conduction throughout one side of the heart. So, because ECGs can be different depending on the test and how a person’s body is positioned, it’s important to let your doctor know about any unusual conditions and/or injuries you’ve experienced (e.g., fractures or muscle or joint problems); take any prescribed medications, and tell them if you’ve ever had an abnormal ECG before.
What are the Benefits of Getting an ECG?
There are many benefits to getting an electrocardiogram (ECG) test. Some of the most common benefits include:
- Revealing if a person is experiencing abnormal heart rhythms, which could lead to serious complications later on: An ECG can quickly detect if a person’s heart is beating too fast, if the normal rhythmic pattern of their heartbeat has changed, or if electrical impulses are not transmitting properly through the heart.
- Identifying the underlying causes of chest pain: ECG tests can determine whether a person’s chest discomfort is being caused by an abnormal heart rhythm, blocked artery, pulmonary disease, or other factors that may require immediate attention.
- Comparing results from one ECG to another: If a person experiences shortness of breath and/or chest pain at certain points in time but not others, it could be a result of different health issues requiring different treatments. To confirm this suspicion and to monitor treatment outcomes, your heart specialist in Singapore may ask you to get ECGs at different times and under different conditions (e.g., lying down and standing).
- Improving blood flow: By tracking a person’s heart rate, doctors can see how well their blood is flowing through the body and whether or not too much time has elapsed between beats—indicating that certain parts of the heart are not getting as much blood as they need.
- Predicting cardiovascular disease: Having an ECG test regularly as part of routine checkups can help doctors avoid serious health problems in the future by revealing early warning signs related to coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure. Early detection of these conditions will allow doctors to prescribe appropriate treatments and lifestyle changes before cardiac problems escalate.
- Preventing fatalities: One of the main benefits of a regular ECG is that it can help doctors predict a person’s risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating, is fatal unless someone gets immediate CPR. The sooner someone receives treatment after an SCA happens, the greater their chance of survival.
How can you prepare for an ECG Test?
If possible, ask your heart specialist in Singapore when you should expect to get your next ECG test. Here are some things you can do in preparation for your next appointment:
- Minimize caffeine intake: Caffeine is a stimulant that increases the heart rate and may interfere with ECG results. If you’re having an ECG during normal business hours, it’s best to avoid any caffeinated beverages.
- Switch medications: Let your doctor know if you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, as some of these can affect testing results. Also, be sure to discuss with your heart specialist about discontinuing certain medications before the test, so they don’t have any residual effects on the day of your appointment.
- Eat light: Before coming in for testing, ask whether you should eat anything at all or if fasting will be more beneficial for providing accurate test results. You can always check with the clinic where you are having your ECG test to see what they recommend.
- Exercise beforehand: If you have been exercising regularly, you may need to stop for at least two days before your ECG test. This is because physical activity can elevate heart rate and cause abnormal or inconclusive results.
What Happens after the Test is over?
After the test, your heart specialist in Singapore may ask you to wait around to view the final results of your ECG. Depending on what the results of the test show, doctors will decide whether or not further treatment is needed.
If abnormalities are detected during testing, it does not necessarily mean there is something wrong with your heart. Different factors affect how our bodies work and react every day—including stress, medication side effects, and health conditions unrelated to cardiac health. An abnormal test result could be an indicator that it would benefit a patient more to get another test done at a later date.
If nothing abnormal is detected, ECG results can be inconclusive, and the tests themselves do not always produce definitive answers. To help avoid unnecessary worry or confusion, technicians will usually try to find out what could be causing abnormality on an ECG before coming to any conclusions about what might actually be wrong with a patient’s heart. In some cases, they may recommend that you simply repeat the ECG test after some time has passed, as this will allow for changes in your condition to become more apparent.
An ECG is a painless, noninvasive test that can be done in the doctor’s office to check for abnormalities with your heart. If you’re scheduled for an ECG and have questions about what will happen on the day of your appointment, it can help to ask before going in.
The more knowledgeable you are about this testing process, the better you’ll feel when it comes time to actually get tested! For more information about ECG, please get in touch to discuss more with an experienced heart specialist in Singapore. Call: +6596873732
Sunrise Heart Clinic – Heart Check Up | Treadmill ECG Test | Echocardiogram
365 Sembawang Cres, #01-02, Singapore 750365
+65 6235 1137