An electrocardiogram (e-lek-tro-KAR-de-o-gram), also called an EKG or ECG, is a simple, painless test that records the heart’s electrical activity and checks for problems with the electrical activity, as well.
- With each heartbeat, an electrical signal spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom. As it travels, the signal causes the heart to contract and pump blood. The process repeats with each new heartbeat.
- The heart’s electrical signals set the rhythm of the heartbeat.
- An EKG translates the heart’s electrical activity into line tracings on paper. The spikes and dips in the line tracings are called waves.
An EKG shows:
- How fast your heart is beating
- Whether the rhythm of your heartbeat is steady or irregular
- The strength and timing of electrical signals as they pass through each part of your heart