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Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a representation of the heart’s electrical activity recorded from electrodes on the body surface.
The ECG is widely used in patients with suspected or known heart disease. It can be used to measure any damage to the heart, how fast your heart is beating and whether it is beating normally and effects of drugs or devices used to control the heart (such as a pacemaker).



How to prepare for the test?


Avoid exercising and/or drinking cold water immediately before an ECG as it may cause false results.


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Electrocardiograms (ECG) FAQ


An electrocardiogram is a representation of the heart’s electrical activity recorded from electrodes on the body surface.

The ECG is widely used in patients with suspected or known heart disease. It can be used to measure any damage to the heart, how fast your heart is beating, whether it is beating normally, and effects of drugs or devices used to control the heart (such as a pacemaker).

You will be asked to lie down. The staff at our Patient Service Centre will clean several areas on your arms, legs, and chest, and then attach small patches called electrodes to the areas. It may be necessary to shave or clip some hair so the patches stick to the skin.

The electrodes are connected by wires to a machine that records the heart’s electrical signals .You usually need to remain still during the procedure. You may also ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds as the test is being done. Any movement, including muscle tremors such as shivering, can alter the results. So it is important to be relaxed and relatively warm during an ECG recording.

To locate Alpha’s Patient Service Centres click on Patient Service Centre Locator for a complete listing, including addresses, phone numbers, hours of operation, Google map and directions.

You will need to bring a completed laboratory test requisition which has been signed by your doctor, and your health insurance card. If you were asked by your doctor to collect any specimen(s) at home, then also bring those with you at the time of your visit.

You do not require an appointment for an ECG test. The test is available at any of our Patient Service Centres (PSCs). Please see Patient Service Centre Locator for details of hours of operation, addresses, phone numbers and maps for our PSC’s.

The ECG test takes approximately 10-15 minutes once you are called into the ECG Room.

An ECG is a painless, non-invasive procedure. The electrodes may feel cold when first applied. In rare cases, some people may develop a mild rash or irritation where the patches were placed.

There are no risks as no electricity is sent through the body.

When the ECG test is complete, the data is sent to a lab where a report is created and returned to your doctor. Your doctor then uses the information provided by the ECG to diagnose and to recommend further treatment for you.

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