This device that captures and expands the electrical activity of the heart through electrodes, this device represents the electrical activity of myocardial fibers, produced when cardiac muscles change their electrical properties with each beat, then electrodes attached to the body can be used, to measure changes in the body’s voltage, and this is called electrocardiogram.
The electrocardiogram is a zero invasive test, safe and useful for a diagnosis, although not conclusive of the severity of the disease, it is important to know how to read and interpret an electrocardiogram correctly, since it shows evidence of underlying causes of the diseases, and for this it is necessary to know the role of ECG and its characteristics.
Interpretation of an electrocardiogram
What an electrocardiogram records are the voltage changes that produce a curve that reflects the heart cycle, typical waveforms, height differences and frequencies, these data are interpreted by the physician according to what is recorded in the ECG paper; this data represents them as follows:
- The T wave shows the relaxation phase of the heart chambers.
- The QRS complex shows the contraction of the heart chambers.
- P wave shows the contraction of the atria.
According to the diagnosis we want to obtain, a classic electrocardiogram can be used at rest or an electrocardiogram of effort or long duration, recalling that this study is a fundamental part of the integral diagnosis when there is a suspicion of a heart disorder and wants to obtain a more precise analysis.
Standard or Normal Electrocardiogram
The information provided by an electrocardiogram is related to heart rate, rhythm and electrical activity of the cardiac chambers and atria; a standard electrocardiogram has a velocity of 25 millimeters per second, however, it has certain characteristics, where it is possible to increase the paper velocity or decrease it according to the pathological needs of the study, such as wave disorders may require a higher velocity or alterations of the rhythm may require a decreased velocity for its correct analysis.
This electrocardiogram is the one commonly performed, in order to visualize graphically the electrical activity of the heart and thus evaluate the cardiac function, relevant in the screening and diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases and metabolic alterations, to know the duration of the cardiac cycle or predisposition to sudden death, it is possible to increase the amplitude of the electrocardiogram before micro voltages or decrease it if there are for example too high QRS complexes.
Uses of the electrocardiograph or electrocardiogram
This equipment fulfills diverse applications for diagnosing cardiovascular diseases and controlling the course of the disease, some of which are:
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Obstruction of arteries
- Damage to the heart
- Heart failure
- Heart attack.
Electrocardiographs are used in ambulances, emergency rooms and hospitals to diagnose a heart attack; sometimes, an electrocardiogram is included in a routine examination of middle-aged or older adults because the risk of heart disease increases with age, also requested when a patient is going to have surgery for any pathology.
When you need to do an electrocardiogram
An electrocardiogram is usually performed to examine the possible causes of the following symptoms or illness:
- Chest pain and pressure
- Changes in heart rate or blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing, sweat flares and nausea
- Rapid heartbeat
- Arrhythmia (may feel your heart has skipped a beat or is flapping)
- You have had a heart attack or other heart problem
- He has a family history of heart disease
- He’s scheduled for surgery.
- You have a pacemaker and want to check if the device is working properly.
- He’s taking medicine for heart disease. The electrocardiogram may show if your medicine is effective or if you need changes in your treatment.
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