The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide
Diagnostic Tests - Electrocardiogram
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What happens when the test is performed?

  • test? You lie on your back with your shirt off. Stickers or small suction cups (called electrodes or leads) are stuck to your skin in a row across your chest and in one place on each arm and leg. The leads record electrical activity coming from your heart, but from different angles.You must remain still but won't feel anything as the machine records the electrical activity that occurs naturally with each heartbeat and prints out a tracing of the signals on a piece of paper. Tell the person taking the EKG if you have any chest pain during the procedure because this information is useful to the doctor who will interpret the findings. The test takes three or four minutes.

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