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Working as an EKG Technician: What Is an Electrocardiogram?

Picture of an Electrocardiogram or EKG which helps in monitoring a patients heart rhythm, heart abnormalities, blood flow and diagnose a heart attack.

While you’re working as an EKG Technician in healthcare facilities, one of your duties may be performing electrocardiogram testing for patients.

As you’re researching EKG Technician Programs, you may have seen that your training will involve practicing electrocardiograms, also known as EKG or ECG tests.

But what is an electrocardiogram?

Here are the basics.

Electrocardiogram Specialization When You’re Working as an EKG Technician

During an electrocardiogram test, an EKG Technician will attach electrode patches to a patient’s chest, arms, and legs.

The test records the electrical activity of a patient’s heart beat.

The electrocardiogram will:

  • Check a patient’s heart rhythm
  • Check for patient heart abnormalities
  • Check to see if there’s poor blood flow to the patient’s heart
  • Diagnose a heart attack

The electrocardiogram measures how long an electrical wave takes to pass through the heart. Normal, slow, fast, or irregular intervals can then be recorded.

A BAMA student practicing an electrocardiogram.
BAMA students practicing an electrocardiogram

Additionally, the amount of electrical activity passing through the patient’s heart muscle shows if parts of the heart are too large or are overworked.

An electrocardiogram takes between five-to-ten minutes to complete, which includes the EKG Technician setting up the procedure. The electrocardiogram is painless for patients and the electrocardiography recording takes just a few seconds to complete.

Fun Fact: Willem Einthoven, a Dutch doctor and physiologist, invented the first practical electrocardiogram in 1903. He went on to receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1924 for the discovery.

Accreditation and Certifications

California Department of Public Health
Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education

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