Cardiovascular diseases are now common, not only in the United States, but all over the world. It accounts for being one of the top reasons why people get hospitalized and also account for the continuously increasing mortality rates. EKG or ECG is an important diagnostic intervention to assess, diagnose and plan the treatment regimen for patients with underlying cardiovascular problems. It poses as an important part of healthcare practice and continues to accentuate its importance in most health conditions.
What is ECG?
Electrocardiography or ECG/ EKG is an interpretation of the electrical activity that the heart makes through impulses. It is detected with the use of electrodes put on the different points on a patient’s body which receives the electrical signals from the heart. It is then recorded into waves to an external device. It is a non-invasive diagnostic test that can be done in a matter of minutes.
What ECG does is pick up the heart’s electrical conduction system through its depolarization or contraction and repolarization or relaxation. These impulses come from the cardiac tissue and then interpreted into waves. The waveforms on an ECG are then used to measure the rate, rhythm and character of the heartbeat and the overall status of the heart. There are a lot of things that can be found out from an ECG reading which range from the heart’s size, underlying cardiac condition and even the presence of a pacemaker.
Why is ECG Interpretation Done?
ECG interpretation is an essential component in determining the cardiovascular status of patients and underlying cardiovascular abnormalities. There are a number of problems that can be detected by ECG.
Here are some of the conditions that ECG is needed for.
- Myocardial Infarction
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Cardiac Arrest
- Abnormal Heart Rhythms
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Valvular Heart Diseases
- Cerebrovascular Disease
- Rheumatic Heart Disease
- Peripheral Artery Diseases
What are the Components of ECG Interpretation?
In ECG interpretation, a systematic approach is observed in determining the impression.
- Rhythm – A normal and healthy heart shows heartbeats that are regular in rhythm. Irregular heart rhythms are termed as arrhythmia and can indicate serious cardiovascular problems
- Rate – The normal heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute
- P Wave – Indicates atrial depolarization or contraction
- PR Interval – Indicates AV node function
- QRS Interval – Indicates ventricular depolarization or contraction
- T Wave – Indicates ventricular repolarization or relaxation
- QT Interval – Good indication of ventricular arrhythmias