An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a graphic record of your heart's electrical activity. This simple, painless test uses an electrocardiograph machine to measure the impulses from your heart and record the results on graph paper. Your physician can then analyze a printout of the results to evaluate your heart rate and rhythm and other data about the structure and function of your heart.
During the Procedure
At the start of the exam, you will be asked to lie on a table while a series of electrodes are applied to your chest and limbs with sticky gel or suction cups. The leads from these electrodes are connected to an electrocardiograph machine. During the procedure, the electrodes detect signals from your beating heart and transmit them over the leads to the electrocardiograph. You will be asked to lie still at various points throughout the procedure. The measurement phase of the procedure lasts only about a minute. An EKG may also be performed during exercise. This type of EKG is usually called a stress test.
After the Procedure
You may resume your normal activities.