The fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States says everything you need to know about how many precautions now need to be taken. Unfortunately, this is going to be a condition which never goes away, but technology has at least allowed some people to rest easier.
The technology in question is an electrocardiogram, also known as an EKG or ECG. Once upon a time these were reserved for only several exclusive hospitals, but now there are countless ECG machine options dotted around practically every medical facility in the country.
So, how can they guard against that potentially-fatal heart attack? Here’s how.
How do ECGs work?
As the name suggests, electrocardiograms record the electrical activity in the heart. As we’ve probably all seen on Grey’s Anatomy, they are attached as patches to your skin and the signals are then relayed to a digital monitor.
Unsurprisingly, these images are difficult to read for the Average Joe. However, anyone with an ounce of medical knowledge will immediately be able to detect if your blood flow to the heart is poor, or if a heart attack has been experienced. As such, they’re absolutely crucial pieces of medical equipment in the modern day hospital.
How Do You Prepare For Your ECG?
The nature of an ECG means that slightly more precautions have to be taken than the standard medical test. Due to the patches which are attached to the body, patients are always advised not to douse themselves in oily creams which could make contact with the skin difficult to achieve.
Fortunately, all other precautions merely relate to clothing. Long socks should be avoided to again prevent difficulties with attaching the patches, while any other clothing should be easily removable for the same reason.
Will Any Other Tests Be Conducted?
If you’ve kept up with the science of ECGs so far, you’re probably about to lose your marker. While some patients will just experience the standard ECG, others will require more specialized tests.
One of these tests is a holter monitor, which is a portable version of the device which is attached to the patient throughout their day-to-day activities. Most doctors insist that the device stay attached for a couple of days and it helps them distinguish just why an abnormal heart rhythm might be occurring. Everything about the holter monitor and standard ECG test are the same; apart from the crucial portability factor of course.
An even more specific test can be requested through an event monitor. Again, this is a portable machine and when the patient experiences any sort of pain, they will push a button and it will immediately start to record their heart activity. Impressively, any information that is recorded can be sent immediately over the phone to a doctor, meaning that diagnosis can be a doddle.
As you can see, the ECG is a literal life-saver. Will it prevent every heart attack in America? No, but it will stop some from occurring and for that reason it’s an invaluable invention.