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What Is An ECG Machine

Posted: 11/18/2014

What is an ECG machine? Part of the confusion may stem from the fact that the electrocardiogram, or ECG, is referred to as an EKG by medically-trained personnel. ECG machines measure the electric impulses of the heart that are generated with every heartbeat and convey that information in the form of a graph. The ECG is so important that progress towards its invention was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1924, and it is a crucial piece of medical equipment for health care professionals today.

What is an ECG machine used for? ECG machines are non-invasive devices that use a number of electrodes attached to the skin to monitor heart activity. These electrodes, typically adhesive pads with conducting gel, connect to several parts of the body to measure the output of electrical signal from one limb to the next. The combination of one electrode's signal and another is called a lead, and ECG machines are classified as 3-lead, 5-lead, or 12-lead, with 12-lead being the standard among a hospital's medical equipment.

The 12-lead ECG machines output data into a printed graph and are the most reliable record of the heart's electrical activity. They use 10 electrodes to measure 12 electric signals simultaneously, with 6 electrodes placed on the chest and one on each limb, because 3 and 5-lead ECG machines measure less data than the 12-leads and are less likely to print out their results, instead continuously displaying the graph on a screen. They also use less electrodes and have fewer complications, so they are the medical equipment of choice for emergency technicians during operations.

So what is an ECG machine able to diagnose? From serious conditions such as heart failure and coronary heart disease to scarcely noticed arrhytmia, ECG machines are experts on heart problems large and small. Symptoms that call for the use of an ECG include fatigue, breathing difficulties, chest pain, or any irregularities in heartbeat. While ECG machines are not part of every check-up, anyone with a history of heart disease in their family should obtain ECG readings on a regular basis.

What is an ECG machine's true importance? They're invaluable medical equipment for any health care provider or patient of heart disease, measuring electric activity to diagnose heart problems and monitor the heart during surgical procedures. To ensure total patient care, ECG machines are among the necessary tools for success.

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