Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) | Cardiac Care - Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula

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Electrocardiogram (ECG / EKG)

The heart's electrical signals set the rhythm of the heartbeat. An electrocardiogram, also called an EKG or ECG, is a simple, painless test that records the heart's electrical activity.

An EKG shows how fast your heart is beating, whether the rhythm of your heartbeat is steady or irregular, and the strength and timing of electrical signals as they pass through each part of your heart.

What to expect

A technician will attach 10 soft, sticky patches called electrodes to the skin of your chest, arms, and legs. The patches are about the size of a quarter. This helps detect your heart's electrical activity from many areas at the same time. 

A nurse or technician may shave areas of your skin to improve electrical contact. After the patches are placed on your skin, you'll lie on a table while the electrodes detect your heart's electrical signals. A machine will record these signals on graph paper or display them on a screen.

The entire test will take about 10 minutes.


You usually can go back to your normal daily routine after an EKG.

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