Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An EKG is a record of the electrical activity of the heart. An electrical impulse or wave passes through the heart and makes the heart muscle contract. An EKG machine records the electrical activity of the heart and produces a graph of the waveforms.

Why It’s Done

There may be other reasons for your health care provider to ask for you to have an EKG. Common reasons include:

  • To assess heart rate and rhythm
  • To diagnose a heart attack
  • To see how well certain heart medicine(s) are working
  • To assist in assessing blood flow to the heart muscle (ischemia)
  • To assist in determining the size of the heart (hypertrophy)
  • To assist in determining the overall health of the heart before procedures such as surgery

How to Prepare

  • There is no special preparation for an EKG
  • Please do not use any lotions, body oils, powdered or scented products

What to Expect During the Test

You will be asked to:

  • Remove your clothing from the waist up and put on a gown
  • Lie quietly/relaxed while the test is being performed
  • Breathe normally during the recording

You will have electrodes (small sticky patches) placed on your arms and legs and on specific locations on your chest. They are attached with wires to the EKG machine which records your heart activity. 

It will only take a few minutes to do the test. When the electrodes are removed there maybe minor discomfort.

After the Test

  • A report of the results will be sent to the health care provider who ordered the test
  • Timelines for results may vary across the province

If you require further information, please contact the health facility/clinic that will be doing your test or your health care provider