The human heart is a finely tuned instrument that starts beating as soon as it comes into existence. And without any external prodding, this fist-sized organ performs its function and circulates blood throughout the body rhythmically.

Much like the electricity that powers the lights and appliances in our homes, our heart is controlled by an electric system that coordinates the activity of the heart and gets the blood flowing to different parts of the body. However, no matter how strong a heart may seem, it is often plagued by health issues.

There may be instances when your heart starts beating too fast or in an abnormal fashion, or you may often experience a strong stinging sensation in your chest, which may or may not be an indication of a malfunctioning electrical system. However, if left undiagnosed, it may lead to many health problems.

Any abnormality in the heart rhythm or beat rate or damage to the heart muscle can change the heart’s electrical activity.

Symptoms often include,

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitation
  • Light-headedness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath

An ECG along with other tests allows doctors to diagnose and monitor conditions in these cases

What is an ECG?

ECG or electrocardiogram is a simple and painless test that records the rhythm and electrical activity of the heart to determine any possible heart issues.

The test is frequently performed in a hospital room or clinic having ECG equipment. ECG machines are standard pieces of equipment found in operating rooms and ambulances as well.

Temporary electrodes are placed on the patient’s chest and limbs to conduct the test. These electrodes are connected to an electrocardiograph, also known as an ECG machine, which records the electrical activities of the heart muscles and displays frequency traces on the ECG screen.

The ECG test takes only a few minutes and does not require any special preparation on the part of the patient.

Why Get an ECG Done?

An ECG is usually one of the very first tests your doctor may prescribe for your heart diagnosis. It can help detect:

  • Conditions involving the heart’s electrical system – often called heart blocks.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Abnormal heart rhythms – Arrhythmia in medical terms.
  • Poor blood supply to the heart.
  • Heart Inflammation or myocarditis, which can lead to a chronically condition of an enlarged heart.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Heart valve disease.
  • Coronary artery disease.

A series of ECGs are often taken regularly to diagnose the condition of a person with heart disease or who is currently on some medication that can potentially affect the heart.

While an ECG is fairly accurate in diagnosing most health conditions, it does not always detect every heart problem. You can have a normal ECG and still have a heart condition. An ECG with abnormal results, on the other hand, does not necessarily indicate that you have an ongoing heart condition, but it may indicate that you have had a heart attack in the past and run the risk of having one in the future.

Types of ECG Tests

The type of ECG you have depends on your symptoms and the heart problem your doctor may suspect.

Resting ECG

This test is carried out while the patient is lying down in a comfortable position. It is important to remain still and relaxed during the test as any movement can interfere with the test results.

Stress or Exercise ECG

A stress ECG is recommended for patients whose symptoms are triggered by any physical activity. It helps doctors analyse the condition of the heart while exercising. This test takes no more than 15 to 20 minutes and may include the administration of certain medications to better understand their effects on the heart.

Ambulatory ECG

An ambulatory ECG or an at-home ECG is a test in which electrodes are attached to a small portable device (a Holter monitor) worn around the waist that allows free movement of the body. The test is better suited for patients whose symptoms are unpredictable and occur in random and brief episodes.

This test type is extremely convenient. Pathology labs offer ECG at home in Jaipur and other cities, which can easily be ordered online from the respective website.


The ECG’s accuracy is determined by the condition being tested.

Normal test results show a consistent and even pattern with a heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute.

On occasion, an abnormal ECG can indicate a variety of things. It could be a normal variation in a patient’s heart rhythm with no effect on their health, or it could be a sign of a medical condition. However, always consult your doctor before making any assumptions about your condition.