HEALTH TESTS

ECG Test: How Effective it is in Detecting Heart Blockage?

ECG stands for electrocardiogram and is a painless, non-invasive tes

An ECG test helps detect irregular heart rate patterns and rhythms

An ECG scan can indicate hypertension or a previous heart attack

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
August 4th, 2021
5 mins read

A simple test to check your heart’s rhythmic and electrical activity is an ECG test.

ECG stands for electrocardiogram. It is the go-to test for detecting heart ailments. An ECG scan is a safe and non-invasive procedure. Doctors recommend this for people facing chest pain, breathing difficulties, high blood pressure, dizziness, palpitations, or any irregularities in the heartbeat.

If you have diabetes, high cholesterol, smoke, or have a family history of heart illness, an ECG test is recommended.

Apart from providing information about heart rate and rhythm, an ECG also detects if the heart is enlarged due to hypertension or if you have had any recent heart attacks. An ECG test is effective in detecting the following conditions.

  •  Cardiomyopathy due to thickening of the heart walls
  •  Heart attacks due to the blockage of blood supply to the heart
  •  Arrhythmias due to irregular heartbeat
  •  Coronary heart disease is due to the presence of fatty substances blocking the blood supply to the heart.

ECG to measure heart healthAdditional read: Why are Electrocardiogram Heart Tests Done? What are the Types and Purposes?

Here is an overview of the ECG scan process and its different types and readings.

ECG test process

Normally, you don’t need to fast before undergoing an ECG. However, it is advisable to provide vital information to your doctor regarding your medications or if you have a pacemaker implanted in your chest.

Electrodes or small sticky sensors are put on your arms, chest, and legs before the test. These sensors connect to a recording machine that detects electrical currents the heart generates.

ECG Tests are of three main types to check your heart rate activity:

  • A resting ECG
  • Stress or exercise ECG
  • Ambulatory ECG
  • You have to lie down for a resting ECG. The stress test or exercise ECG records your heart rate when you walk on a treadmill or ride an exercise bike. Ambulatory ECG records your heart rate when connected to a small machine on your waist. Your heart rate is monitored for 24 hours at home. You can continue with your daily routine with this home option.

implies that while your readings may not be precisely normal, they are not significantly abnormal either. An abnormal ECG indicates a defect or abnormality in your heart.

ECG test readings

Symptoms and causes of Ventricular Fibrillation

Ventricular fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia that occurs due to abnormal heart rhythm. As a result of abnormal heart signals, lower heart chambers or ventricles tremble unnecessarily. This stops the heart from pumping blood to the rest of the body. Ventricular fibrillation requires immediate medical attention as it can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.

Some of the signs you need to watch out for includes the following:

  •  Dizziness
  •  Nausea
  •  Rapid beating of the heart
  •  Chest pain

A ventricular fibrillation ECG is done along with chest X-ray, echocardiogram, CT scan, MRI scan, and blood tests to diagnose this condition. An ECG helps reveal if there are irregularities in your heartbeat. Usually, a rate of 300 to 400 bpm indicates ventricular fibrillation. [3]

Causes and risk factors of Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is yet another heart ailment that can affect your heartbeat rate. However, in this condition, the irregular beating causes the heart’s upper chambers or atria to beat so fast that they begin to quiver. Consequently, your ventricles also begin to beat irregularly.

Atrial fibrillation is also quite dangerous as it increases the risk of heart failure and stroke. Both atria and ventricles work in unison so that heart pumps blood properly. However, in this condition, the heartbeat rate increases somewhere around 100 to 175 bpm.

Few symptoms of this condition include the following:

  • Faster heartbeats
  • Chest pain
  • Uneven pulse
  • A rapid fluttering of the heart

The ideal way to check this condition is to undergo an atrial fibrillation ECG. This way, your doctor can detect if there is a problem with the rhythm of your heartbeat.

While an ECG helps you assess the risk factors associated with the heart, it is essential to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle to protect yourself from heart ailments. Try to follow a well-balanced diet and strive to keep your weight under control. Keep an eye on heart problems’ risk factors and symptoms and ensure you get an ECG test when needed. Book all lab tests with ease on Bajaj Finserv Health so you can nip heart problems in the bud.

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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