ECG – electrocardiography – Process, benefits and alternatives

ECG – electrocardiography – Process, benefits and alternatives

ECG - what is involved?

During the electrocardiography (ECG), the electrical activity of the heart is recorded in the form of a curve on an electrocardiogram. In the heart, there is a weak current with a voltage of around one thousandth of a Volt per beat. These electrical pulses are deduced using electrodes (metal platelets). For this purpose, the electrodes are applied to the arms, legs and chest. An ECG device amplifies these pulses and presents them as a curve on a screen or prints them on a strip of paper.
Thus, electrocardiography is the recording of the course of cardiac excitation.

ECG – when?

With the electrocardiogram, the doctor examines

  • cardiac rhythm and heart rate
  • Disorders of the ectopic rhythm, propagation and regression in the impulse conduction system and in the cardiac muscles
  • The position of the heart in the chest

The following can be detected by curve changes in the ECG:

  • Cardiac infarction
  • Coronary vessel diseases
  • Overdosage of certain medications
  • Lack or abundance of certain minerals and their influence on impulse conduction.
  • Atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter and ventricular fibrillation or ventricular flutter
  • heart beat that is too slow (bradycardia) in diseases of the sinus node or AV node
  • Inflammation of the myocardium (myocarditis)
  • Inflammation of the pericardium (pericarditis)

The treatment and progress of different heart diseases are often monitored by means of ECG.

ECG – how?

During a resting ECG, the patient lies down in a relaxed physical state. The measuring points are on the arms, legs and the chest. They are connected to the ECG device which then measures the electrical activity of the heart. After the examination, the doctor removes the measuring electrodes and evaluates the ECG.
During an exercise ECG, the patient must be active on either a treadmill or a room bicycle. This is useful:

  • if there is a suspicion of coronary vessel diseases
  • if there is a suspicion of exercise hypertension (abnormal increase in blood pressure during exercise)
  • for the clarification of physical fitness after cardiac infarction or following cardiac surgery
  • for the assessment of heart rhythm disorders during exercise
  • for the assessment of medicinal treatment of coronary vessel diseases or increased blood pressure

A long-term ECG records the electrical activity of the heart over a period of at least 24 hours. In this case, the ECG device is particularly small so that, for example, it can be carried on the belt.
The doctor can detect heart rhythm disorders or monitor the treatment of such disorders using a 24 hour ECG. This examination is also the appropriate method for checking a pacemaker after implantation and assessing a coronary vessel disease.

ECG – are there alternatives?

In order to assess the pumping function of the heart muscle and the heart valves, a cardiac ultrasound (echocardiography) can also be carried out. The heart catheter examination allows for a very precise presentation of coronary vessel diseases as well as the extent of heart valve damage. An alternative to the ECG is exercise echocardiography, also known as stress echocardiography. This is an ultrasound examination of the heart, while the cardiac workload is increased at the same time. Circulatory disorders of the heart can also be diagnosed using scintigraphy. Blood tests are additionally important.

ECG– why at the Wiener Privatklinik?

The Wiener Privatklinik not only offers you some of Vienna’s best medical specialists, but also specialists and the necessary technical diagnostic equipment for all examinations, which may be required if a disease is suspected as a result of the ECG. It also offers the best specialists for the immediate treatment of such diseases. Early detection and timely treatment at the highest level are the best guarantee for a long, pain-free life.

You can obtain more detailed information on electrocardiography from our telephone info-line or by email. All contact details can be found on our Contact page.