An electrocardiogram, or EKG, detects and records the heart's electrical activity. Dr. Patel, what can you tell us about an EKG?
Well, Dr. Mansfield, an EKG is done using up to 12 electrodes attached to the skin on the chest, arms, and legs. The electrodes are connected by wires to a machine that records the heart's electrical activity on graph paper or on a computer.
An EKG can show how fast the heart is beating, whether its rhythm is steady or irregular, and the strength and timing of the electrical impulses passing through each part of the heart.
By itself, the results of an EKG can't be used to diagnose coronary artery disease but this test can show damage to the heart caused by the disease. It can also reveal signs of complications of coronary artery disease, such as a previous or current heart attack, arrhythmia, and heart failure.