An ECG test is one of the most effective ways to detect heart disease. It is a fairly simple procedure using medical equipment that was originally developed in 1877, but the results can be quite comprehensive and even life-saving.
The first type of ECG test is typically performed while the patient is lying down on a table. From 12 to 15 electrodes are attached to various parts of the arms, legs and chest where they can detect nerve centers and transmit the results to ECG machines. The electrodes have to come in direct contact with the skin so the areas need to be clean and shaved. These nerve centers are being monitored because they will detect each contraction and relaxation of the heart.
Another type of ECG test is known as a stress test. They are also known as treadmill tests and they are used to diagnose how well the heart handles work. The ECG machines are still hooked up in the same manner as a regular ECG test, but the patient has to walk or run on a treadmill. The body has to work harder, increasing the demand for oxygen and making the heart pump faster. If the blood supply is reduced or slowed down at all, the ECG machines will detect it and show up in the ECG test results. This could be the result of build-up in the arteries or some other type of heart defect. These analyses can allow doctors to determine what level of exercise is appropriate and necessary for a person with their condition so that they do not work their heart too hard.
The medical equipment used in stress tests are frequently used to identify very specific heart problems such as coronary heart disease. ECG machines can also predict the likelihood of a heart attack or other dangerous heart-related occurrences. For people who have previously used this type of medical equipment to diagnose a problem, these tests can indicate how effective their treatment has been in correcting their circulation problems. Adjustments to their treatment plan can then be made and then further testing will be able to indicate if they had any positive effect. The results can also be combined with the results of tests that use different types of medical equipment such as a catheterization or nuclear stress test to truly determine the nature of the problem.