An electrocardiogram is a simple, painless test that measures your heart’s electrical activity. It’s also known as an ECG or EKG. Every heartbeat is triggered by an electrical signal that starts at the top of your heart and travels to the bottom. Heart problems often affect the electrical activity of your heart. Your doctor may recommend an EKG if you’re experiencing symptoms or signs that may suggest a heart problem, including:
- pain in your chest
- trouble breathing
- feeling tired or weak
- pounding, racing, or fluttering of your heart
- a feeling that your heart is beating unevenly
- detection of unusual sounds when your doctor listens to your heart
An EKG will help your doctor determine the cause of your symptoms along with what type of treatment might be necessary.
If you’re 50 or older or if you have a family history of heart disease, your doctor may also order an EKG to look for early signs of heart disease.