Electrocardiogram (ECG) Information

The Harfield Practice offers an Electrocardiogram (ECG) Service


Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a simple test that can be used to check your heart's rhythm and electrical activity.

Sensors attached to the skin are used to detect the electrical signals produced by your heart each time it beats.

These signals are recorded by a machine and are looked at by a doctor to see if they're unusual.

An ECG may be requested by a heart specialist (cardiologist) or any doctor who thinks you might have a problem with your heart, including your GP.

The test can be carried out by a specially trained healthcare professional at a hospital, a clinic or at your GP surgery.

Despite having a similar name, an ECG isn't the same as an echocardiogram, which is a scan of the heart.

When an ECG is used

An ECG is often used alongside other tests to help diagnose and monitor conditions affecting the heart.

It can be used to investigate symptoms of a possible heart problem, such as chest painpalpitations (suddenly noticeable heartbeats), dizziness and shortness of breath.

An ECG can help detect:

  • arrhythmias – where the heart beats too slowly, too quickly, or irregularly
  • coronary heart disease – where the heart's blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances
  • heart attacks – where the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked
  • cardiomyopathy – where the heart walls become thickened or enlarged

A series of ECGs can also be taken over time to monitor a person already diagnosed with a heart condition or taking medication known to potentially affect the heart.

How an ECG is carried out

There are several different ways an ECG can be carried out. Generally, the test involves attaching a number of small, sticky sensors called electrodes to your arms, legs and chest. These are connected by wires to an ECG recording machine.

You don't need to do anything special to prepare for the test. You can eat and drink as normal beforehand.

Before the electrodes are attached, you'll usually need to remove your upper clothing, and your chest may need to be shaved or cleaned. Once the electrodes are in place, you may be offered a hospital gown to cover yourself.


The Appointment

To prepare for your appointment, wear a comfortable two piece outfit. Do not smoke for at least two hours before the test. You can eat and drink normally before and after the test. Continue to take your medication as usual.

After you arrive for your echo, we will ask you to remove the top half of your clothing and lay bare chested on a couch, ladies will need to remove their bra. The room will be dark. Small pads (electrodes) are placed on your chest to monitor your heart beat. The cardiac physiologists move the device (transducer) coated with cool gel firmly over your chest. There are sometimes tender spots on your chest, but any discomfort is not coming from your heart. At times you may be asked to exhale and hold your breath for a few seconds as air in your lungs can affect the images. The procedure normally takes approximately 20 minutes and is completely painless.

A detailed report of your echo scan will be forwarded to your GP within days of having the test. Your GP is the person to discuss the findings with you in more detail and will contact you if needed.


Patient Information Pre-ECG Preparation

1) Please ensure not to apply any cream or lotion on your body
2) Please ensure there is no jewellery on your Neck area
3) For Males, Please ensure to clear you chest area of any hair to enable us to get a readable/clear report
4) Please ensure to wear loose clothing on top to be easily taken off & socks to be lowered
5) Please ensure not to drink any Caffeine drink 10 hours before ECG
6) Please ensure you empty your bladder before the ECG appointment
7) Please relax while waiting in the waiting room and coming 10 minutes earlier then the appointment time
8) Please reschedule if you have a constant cough where your are  unable to stay still for at least 5 -10 minutes

Contacting us

If for any reason you cannot make your appointment, or if you have any queries following an appointment, please contact our reception team on 01895 822 944 you can alos cancel on the NHS App.