The ECG is often one of the first tests done in case of chest pain or shortness of breath. It is also performed for screening purposes. The ECG records the electrical activity of the heart. The test is safe, painless and takes only a few minutes.
The heart is a hollow muscle. The contraction of the heart muscle is in a fixed sequence (phases) and the result of the electrical activity: first the atria of the heart, then the middle wall and finally the ventricles contract.
The ECG shows these different phases of the contraction. For the collection of the electrical activity it is necessary that a series of electrodes are placed on the chest. The electrical activity is captured, recorded and drawn on paper by means of a graphic representation. The result is known as an electrocardiogram (ECG).
To attach the electrodes, it may be necessary to shave hair on the chest area and dry sweaty parts of the chest. The spots where the electrodes are attached are then cleaned with alcohol to take away dust or body lotion.