You must have seen the wave pattern in this image before. Maybe in a movie or a piece of art. Did you, however, know that it symbolizes the electricity produced by your heart! Yes, your heart produces its own electricity that in turn enables it to work in pumping blood effectively around your body. A fault in the electrical system of the heart may cause severe disease. Scientists and doctors around the world and throughout history of medicine have been able to study these electric patterns produced by your heart and have mapped out the pattern in the image and called it an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG).
It may sound similar to an echocardiogram (echo) but the two are very different.
History of the ECG
The idea of electricity within an animal heart was first proposed by a scientist known as Galvani early in the 19th century. Other researchers such Matteucci and Kolliker improved on Galvani’s work. The first ECG on a human heart was performed in 1887 at St. Mary’s hospital in London by Augustus Waller using a galvanometer.
The modern day 12 lead ECG has undergone tremendous improvements overtime and has evolved into one of the most important tests for diagnosis of heart conditions and monitoring of heart activity in ICU settings. The Kisumu heart center dearly thanks and appreciates the efforts of all those who contributed to this amazing technology.
Frequently Asked Questions
The sound of the word electricity might be scary, but in the hands of well trained and experienced personnel like those at Kisumu heart center, an electrocardiogram is one of the simplest non invasive tests that you can get. Once you have been prepared adequately for the procedure by our nurses and ECG technologists, 9 leads will be placed at various locations around your heart. 6 on your chest and 3 others on your limbs. The other 3 leads are known as augmented leads and are derived from the 3 limb leads by the ECG machine to make the 12 lead ECG.
These leads will monitor your hearts electrical activity and print it out on a piece of paper. Digital records are also available. The procedure takes between 10 to 15 minutes and it is painless.
Once it is done, the Kisumu heart center cardiovascular specialist doctors will read and interpret the strip for you and make an informed decision about your Heart’s health.
Ideally, your doctor should prescribe an ECG for you based on the sings and symptoms you present with. An electrocardiogram/ electrocardiography, can be used to diagnose many conditions of the heart and some that are not from the heart per se, but affect its functioning.
The most common conditions for which your doctor may request an ECG include: coronary heart disease, heart muscle injury, heart failure and heart attack. It can also be used to assess electrolyte imbalances and drug toxicities. We also use electrocardiography to monitor patients under anesthesia and those under critical care.
Symptoms that may make your doctor consider prescribing an ECG include: chest pain, difficulty in breathing, cough, leg swelling, palpitations and irregular heartbeats, fainting spells etc.
Here at Kisumu heart center, we conduct about 10 ECGs a day for various conditions on our patients. A good number of our patients also request ECGs as a form of routine cardiovascular checkup and occasionally, on these routine tests, we identify an abnormality and correct it before it is even symptomatic.
The cost of doing an ECG varies depending on the location, technology of the machines used and the available human resource. At Kisumu Heart Center, patient health comes first. We believe that financial constraints shouldn’t be a barrier to accessing quality health care. For more information on our affordable prices on this and other services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on phone number 0731555212 or BOOK APPOINTMENT. You can also visit our Kisumu offices at LOCATION
At Kisumu heart center, we believe in holistic care and we try as much as possible to have all our patient services availed under one roof. This not only reduces time wastage but is also cost effective for the patient. That is why we insist on having our own equipment to take care of our patients holistically.
Moreover, medical training and experience varies among healthcare providers and one missed step in the process of doing an ECG or an Echocardiogram may result in a misdiagnosis. It is for this reason that we insist on performing our own ECG.
Those tests done outside our facility will be reviewed by our specialist cardiovascular physicians and the need for a repeat assessed.