Equipment Spotlight: What is an EKG machine?

An electrocardiogram machine, which is also known as an EKG or ECG, is used to check a heart’s electrical activity. Whether the patient visits the office with unexplained chest pains, symptoms of heart disease like palpitations, dizziness and fainting, to check the effectiveness of a pacemaker, or to monitor high blood pressure, an EKG machine can quickly provide a clear picture of the patient’s heart health.

Types of EKG machines

Different types of machines are often distinguished by the number of leads, or electrical cables, that attach the electrodes to the skin. Some of these include:

  • Portable or handheld machines – Simply uses the pulse of a patient’s finger. No leads.
  • 3-lead – Shows waves on a screen.
  • 5-lead – Used for continual monitoring and shows waves on a screen.
  • 12-lead – Prints readings on a paper copy.

The machine translates the heart’s electrical activity into line tracings of spikes and dips that are easy to decipher. You may choose to use an EKG machine in a variety of ways. Depending on your practice, you may use it as part of a physical examination, during specialized tests or for continual monitoring. Because it is important that this type of information is correct so you can best treat your patients, it is vital to have a high-quality EKG machine in your office that you can depend on for accurate readings.

Certain variables may affect the test, but they do not mean you have a faulty machine. To ensure you get an accurate reading, make sure the electrodes are securely attached to the patient’s skin. Also be certain that the patient does not move around or talk during the test, and restrict exercise prior to testing. Additionally, try to provide a calm environment so the patient is not anxious during the test.

If you are unsure of the accuracy of your EKG machine, you don’t have to proper type for its particular use or yours is out of date, check out the selection of EKG machines at Medical Device Depot to update your practice.

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