The electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart with the help of small electrodes attached to the skin at the level of the chest, hands and feet. This can be done for the purpose of detecting heart disease during pregnancy or as part of a routine physical examination. In general, ECG is recommended when pregnant women have severe palpitations!
The EKG is a non-invasive, rapid and painless investigation that presents no risks to any patient, even to pregnant women. It is a simple test, which is carried out in a fast time and offers valuable information about the activity of the heart. The results are obtained and interpreted on the spot.
Why is the electrocardiogram done?
During pregnancy it is recommended especially because of palpitations that the pregnant woman can manifest. But the doctor can also perform this test in order to:
- measure heart rate and detect heart rate problems;
- diagnose a potential heart attack;
- there is insufficient blood flow to the heart (ischemia);
- discover the causes of chest pain;
- signs of inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis);
- evaluate anomalies in the heart, such as an enlarged heart, etc.
How is the EKG made?
The electrocardiogram is performed mainly by the cardiologist, but can also be done by an electrophysiologist, anesthesiologist, internist, surgeon. You will lie on the bed during the procedure. The areas where the electrodes are attached are well cleaned so that they will adhere as well to the skin. Around 10 electrodes are attached to the chest, hands, arms and legs. They are connected to a device called electrocardiograph that will record the results and print them on paper.
While performing the EKG it is essential to stay still and to follow the doctor's directions regarding breathing. Sometimes it will tell you to breathe normally, sometimes you will have to hold your breath for a few seconds. You do not have to speak during the test. The electrodes may give you a cold sensation when attached, but they are not uncomfortable and do not cause other symptoms.
Also, if you have areas with excess hair, it will be removed for better adhesion to the skin. The test does not take more than 10 minutes.
Is EKG a safe pregnancy test?
The electrocardiogram is a safe investigation. It does not present risks and does not affect the fetus in any way. The main care of the pregnant women is related to the electrical impulses that could pass to the baby through the electrodes. But they detect only the impulses produced by the heart, and no electrical current passes through the body. The ECG or EKG test does not involve radiation or chemicals that could enter the pregnant body.
Many women undergo electrocardiograms due to palpitations, which is a normal sign, but which requires further investigation, especially if there are other risk factors. In addition, this test may be recommended as early as the first trimester of pregnancy, if you are susceptible to cardiovascular disease and most of the time it is integrated among routine medical tests during pregnancy.
How are the results obtained?
During the test, the results are printed on a special graded paper. These are in the form of lines, and the variations are called where. Depending on these, the test is interpreted, which may be normal or abnormal.
What factors can influence the results?
There are several factors that can interfere with the accuracy of the result. These include:
- incorrect positioning of electrodes;
- movement or speech during the test;
- anxiety or dyspnoea when performing the EKG;
- prolonged physical exertion before the test.
Tags Pregnancy analysis Pregnancy heart disease