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Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test to measure your heart’s electrical activity and check how it is functioning.

An ECG provides your doctor with important information about the rate and rhythm of your heartbeats, any damage to your heart, the size and position of the chambers in your heart, and your heart’s blood and oxygen supply.

What is an Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a simple, useful and fast test to evaluate your heart. It uses sensors to measure the electrical activity of your heart each time it beats and this is recorded by an ECG machine. A doctor can interpret the graphic recording and will notify you if it is unusual.

An ECG is requested by a doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms that may suggest you have a heart problem. Symptoms may include chest pain, severe tiredness, shortness of breath, pounding, racing, or fluttering of your heart, feeling of uneven heart beating or unusual sounds when your doctor listens to your heart.

Your electrocardiogram can help your doctor to identify if you have a heart problem, including:

  • an irregular heartbeat
  • having or have had a heart attack
  • heart defects
  • heart valve problems
  • blocked arteries or coronary artery disease

What is an ECG vs EKG?

An ECG and an EKG are exactly the same things. Both ECG and EKG stand for electrocardiogram. When electrocardiogram is translated into the German language, it is spelt elektro-kardiographie and this is abbreviated to EKG.

Can ECG detect heart attack?

Yes, an ECG is an important test in suspected heart attacks. An ECG helps confirm the diagnosis of a heart attack and also the type of heart attack you have had. This is useful information when determining the most effective treatment for you.

What are the types of ECG?

There are three main types of ECG:

  • Resting ECG – small sticky sensors called electrodes are placed on your chest, and often your arms and legs whilst you lie down comfortably. These are connected by wires to an ECG machine that picks up and records the electrical activity in your heart. The test only takes a few minutes. A resting ECG allows your doctor to see how your heart is working when you are at rest. It may detect abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias, where your heart beats too slowly, too fast or irregularly. It can also help to diagnose if you are having a heart attack when experiencing sudden symptoms such as chest pain or if you have had a heart attack. A resting ECG can show if your heart is enlarged or if your heart wall has become thicker due to strain.
  • Stress or exercise ECG – carried out whilst you exercise on a treadmill or exercise bike. It allows your doctor to see how your heart reacts to activity. Your heart needs to work harder when you are active as it requires more blood and oxygen. An exercise ECG can show if your heart muscle is receiving enough blood, if you have coronary heart disease and if so, how severe your condition might be, and to see how well your heart is working if you have recently had heart surgery, coronary angioplasty or a heart attack.
  • Holter monitor – sometimes called 24-hour ECG or an ambulatory ECG. A Holter monitor test involves continuously recording the electrical activity of your heart over a period of time, usually 24 to 72 hours. You wear a small portable recording device around your waist with leads that are taped to your chest. You may be asked to keep a ‘diary’ or to make a note of the times you have any symptoms.

A Holter monitor can show an abnormally fast, slow or irregular heart rhythm. It can help to diagnose the cause of symptoms, such as palpitations, that don’t happen all the time.

The type of ECG your doctor recommends will depend on your symptoms and the heart problem they suspect.

What is the cost of an Electrocardiogram

The cost of an electrocardiogram (ECG) will depend on the type of ECG requested by your cardiologist and your Ramsay hospital of choice.

You will receive a formal quotation price for your electrocardiogram (ECG) following your consultation with one of our expert cardiologists. This formal quote for your electrocardiogram will be valid for 60 days.

Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. An ECG is covered by most medical insurance policies as long as it is deemed medically necessary by your doctor. We advise you to obtain written authorisation from your insurance provider before your electrocardiogram test.

We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your electrocardiogram (ECG) test yourself. We offer interest-free finance so you pay 0% interest, no deposit and benefit from affordable monthly instalments.

Electrocardiogram at Ramsay Health Care UK

Ramsay Health Care UK offers rapid access to an electrocardiogram test if you have symptoms that may suggest you have a heart problem, including chest pains and abnormal heart rhythm.

Our hospitals offer the three main types of ECG to help identify a heart problem. We use the latest technology that is operated and reviewed by highly skilled and experienced staff.

We also offer ECGs as part of your private health check-up, without any suspicion of heart disease, for peace of mind.

All Ramsay hospitals pay the utmost attention to infection control so you can visit safely.

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