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ECG Test

What is ECG and when to do an electrocardiogram?

ECG Test
An electrocardiogram is a test that can diagnose numerous heart diseases. The expert explains how it works and what it consists of
According to the Ministry of Health, cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death in Italy, accounting for 34.8% of all deaths.
Many cardiovascular diseases can be diagnosed with an initial, first-degree examination, including an electrocardiogram.

What is an electrocardiogram (ECG)?
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that records the internal electrical activity of myocardial fibers.

Simply put, it is a practical, easy-to-repeat, and inexpensive way to record the electrical activity of the heart to monitor whether there is a mechanical or bioelectrical disorder.

What is the purpose of an electrocardiogram (ECG)?

The electrocardiogram allows the cardiologist to diagnose cardiac disorders and pathology which includes:

Arrhythmias: Changes in the rhythm of the heart: The heart beats irregularly, very slowly, or very fast. Diagnosis of arrhythmia is very important, as these are often asymptomatic and can lead to cardiac arrest and sudden death;

Ischemia and/or Infarction: ECG may detect heart crisis due to decreased blood flow to the heart (ischemia) due to narrowing of coronary arteries, which may lead to myocardial infarction (death of heart tissue);

Congenital or acquired changes and physical disorders of the heart cavity such as valvulopathy, ventricular hypertrophy, dilated cardiomyopathy, etc .;

Electrolyte Disorders: Excess or deficiency concentration of electrolytes in the blood, resulting in altered cardiac rhythm;

Toxic effects of certain drugs: which can damage the heart muscle.

ECG allows evaluation of the effectiveness of pacemakers and other internal devices such as implantable defibrillators.

The symptoms of heart disease should be taken care of

Assuming that some heart disease may be incomplete before some serious event such as a heart arrest, finding out the symptoms and what the heart disease may indicate is very variable, but may include:

Absence of pulse;

Chest pain

Easy fatigue;

Feeling of weakness (asthenia);

Frequent swelling of the lower limbs;

Chronic headaches and dizziness;



Feeling of irregular heartbeat;

Frequent fainting (lipothymia).

When to do an electrocardiogram

An electrocardiogram is a very simple diagnostic test, which is indicated in cases where:

The symptoms mentioned above are present, which may be due to heart disease;

There are familial risk factors, which are very important when assessing a patient's health status, as there may be familial propensities for different heart diseases;

A patient needs to complete a clinical-cardiocirculatory picture, for example, to have surgery;

In order to ensure the health status of athletes, certification is required for sports activities including competitive sports in terms of clinical assessment;

You need to evaluate the development of heart disease over time or test the effectiveness of treatment.

How to 
ECG Test 

The ECG lasts a few minutes.

Ten electrodes are placed in the patient's body (arms, legs, and chest) to record the electrical activity of the heart.

The electrocardiograph then reproduces it in a trace that is evaluated by a specialist.

There is no electrical stimulation and no special contraindications to the test, which is painless and non-invasive.

How often should ECG be done?

Depending on the test results and the presence or absence of pathology or risk factors, the number of times a medical check-up and electrocardiogram should be performed depends on the specialist.

From the age of 40, they will be advised to do this every two years and at least once a year after the age of 50.

Types of electrocardiograms (ECG)

Depending on the type of symptom and problem highlighted or suspected, there are other types of ECGs that can be done:

Basal ECG (at rest): This is the classic test method, the patient lies on a couch and has electrodes in his body;

Holter Dynamic ECG: This is performed with the help of a small portable electrocardiograph that allows 24 hours continuous recording of cardiac activity, highlighting events (arrhythmia, coronary insufficiency, etc.) that would otherwise be unknown;

Exercise ECG: Cardiac assessment in physical pressure, including electrocardiogram and real-time monitoring of blood pressure. It makes it possible to monitor blood pressure behavior and detect the onset of arrhythmias and myocardial ischemia during physical activity;

Loop Recorder: This is accomplished by subcutaneous application of a device that records the cardiac electrical activity during the day and sends information to the operation center at night. This investigation can last for several months and is directed to assess the existence of rare but potentially serious or dangerous events such as malignant arrhythmia, syncope, etc.

Other cardiological tests (ECG Test)

In addition to this, we should also mention

color doppler echocardiogram: A sophisticated ultrasound scan of the heart, performed by ultrasound probe if heart damage or defect is suspected;

Rest and exercise Myocardial scintigraphy: Depending on the type of test prescribed, after the exercise test or pharmacological stimulant test, weak radioactive drugs are injected into the patient. Provide information about how blood flows to the myocardium (muscle region) under rest or pressure to allow evaluation of cardiac function, called a gamma camera.

Coronary Angiography (Virtual Coronary Angiography, Coronary TC): This is a computerized axial tomography (CT) scan performed with contrast medium, which can create high-definition 3D images of the coronary arteries and thus non-invasively narrow ( Stenosis);

Coronography: This is a test involving the administration of a contrast medium that is used to visualize the coronary artery on an X-ray to assess the presence of any stenosis;

Myocardial Resonance Imaging (MRI): This test uses images that use magnetic resonance imaging to assess the physiological structure of the heart, especially the myocardium.

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