Electrocardiography – ECG
ECG test facilities
An electrocardiogram – also known as an ECG test – is a medical test which examines your heart’s rate, rhythm and electrical activity in order to check if everything is working as it should.
An ECG test performed here at our Bolton clinic provides you and us with a great deal of information about your heart and how healthy it is, such as:
- The presence of certain tell-tale signs which could indicate whether a person is at risk of a heart attack
- Whether they have heart disease
- If there is some other problem with their heart that they may not know about
An ECG test can also be used as a way of monitoring existing medical conditions and to see how well a particular medication or treatment may be working.
In most cases, you won’t need an ECG test if you do not exhibit the expected risk factors and behaviours which cause heart disease. However, if a doctor has recommended you keep an eye on your heart’s health, you may want to consider an electrocardiogram.
Why might you need an ECG test?
An electrocardiogram is one of the most common and reliable heart tests available to doctors and medical practitioners. Often, it is the only way to uncover a problem with the heart’s electrical impulses.
These electrical impulses are what make your heart’s fibres contract so that they can pump blood around your body. You can therefore appreciate why making sure that we know what is going on with your heart and its electrical impulses are extremely important.
The ECG test works by recording the electrical impulses which are made while your heart is beating. Any irregularities in these recordings suggests to your doctor that something may be going on.
You may be told to have an ECG test if you are showing the symptoms of a possible heart problem, such as:
- Chest pain
- Heavy heartbeats
- Heart palpitations / an irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing / shortness of breath
If you have had a heart attack in the past or have been diagnosed with significantly high blood pressure, you may also be referred for an electrocardiogram. Those who have a family history of heart disease, diabetes or another illness that would like to start exercise may also need an ECG test before doing so.
It is possible you may also need to get an ECG test as part of an occupational requirement such as joining the army or police force.
What does an electrocardiogram involve?
During your ECG test at our Bolton clinic, your practitioner will gently place up to twelve adhesive electrodes on your skin in various places on your arms, legs and chest. They will clean the skin before attaching the electrodes and they may also need to shave the area a little first however not by much.
You’ll be asked to lay back and relax for a few minutes before the test to give the electrode connections some time to stabilise and make sure the recordings are accurate. We’ll do everything we can to help you feel happy and calm throughout the procedure.
All you need to do for your ECG test at our Bolton clinic is to lie still as we want to see what the electrical activity of your heart is like when you’re at rest. You may not feel like you’re doing anything but the electrocardiogram machine will be taking in a great deal of information about your heart’s rhythm and blood pressure.
Once your ECG test is complete, your practitioner will remove the electrodes from your skin – which will be no more painful than taking off a plaster.
What will my ECG test tell my doctor?
Your electrocardiograph will show your doctor how healthily your heart is working. It can help them to detect abnormalities that may point to:
- An arrhythmia – in which the heart beats too slowly, too quickly, or in an irregular pattern
- Coronary heart disease – where the heart’s blood supply is blocked due to a build-up of fatty substances
- Cardiomyopathy – where the walls of the heart have become enlarged or thickened
- Areas of the heart that may have reduced blood supply
- Problems with the spread of electrical activity throughout the heart
- A ‘silent’ heart attack – which is an interruption in the blood flow in the coronary arteries without the usual heart attack symptoms being present
You may find that your doctor might want to attend further tests depending on the results of your electrocardiograph. Even if your ECG test comes back normal, they may want to send you for another one. If your ECG test shows nothing but you still report chest pain when walking uphill, you may be given an exercise ECG test which is recorded while you walk on a treadmill.
Your electrocardiogram ECG test with Parkhill
If you believe you may need an ECG test, come speak to our team of healthcare experts at our Bolton practice. At your consultation, we’ll let you know whether or not an electrocardiogram sounds right for the condition you’re describing to us and, if not, help to push you in the right direction.
To book your ECG test consultation with the team today, please call us on 01204 770 600, or come in and see us at the Park Hill practice in Bolton, Greater Manchester. Our prices for ECG’s are: