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

  • The coordinated pumping of your heart is controlled by natural electrical currents within the heart. An EKG (sometimes referred to as ECG) measures those currents. An EKG is especially useful for diagnosing heart attacks and rhythm abnormalities, but it can also provide many clues about other conditions.You should have an EKG every one to three years after age 40 if you have heart disease; if you are at risk for developing it because you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes; or if you are about to start a vigorous exercise program.

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