Your physician may request that you have an Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) test. An EKG or ECG is a test that checks for problems with the heart's electrical activity. This test is performed to:

  • Determine cause of unexplained chest pain, such as a heart attack, inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericardis) or reduced blood flow to the heart muscle (ischemia).
  • Determine the cause of certain heart disease symptoms like unexplained chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting or rapid, irregular heartbeats (palpitations).
  • Check the heart’s electrical activity.
  • Check the heart chamber wall thickness.
  • See if medicines are working and if they are causing certain side effects.
  • Check how well pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are working to control a normal heartbeat.
  • Check the health of the heart when other diseases or conditions are present, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes or a family history of early heart disease.

Learn more about the EKG test »

You may also be required to have an echocardiogram. An ECHO is an ultrasound of the heart. It uses standard ultrasound techniques to give your doctor images of your heart that can be used to assess cardiac valve areas and function, any abnormal communications between the left and right side of the heart, any leaking of blood through the valves (valvular regurgitation), the ejection fraction and cardiac measurements.

Learn more about echocardiograms »