An electrocardiogram or ECG is a test widely used to assess and evaluate the status of the heart’s conduction system. An ECG is a graphical presentation of the electrical activity of the heart muscles and is measured by an ECG machine. The series of wavy lines in an ECG report represent the recordings of an ECG machine that reads heart beats and prints them out on a special pressure sensitive paper. These readings are the tools for diagnosing abnormalities in the heart.
ECG machines generally consist of a small, hand-held personal data assistant (PDA) and a cable that splits into individual wires called leads. Electrodes are Soma Technology attached to the tip of each lead and are placed on a patient’s chest to record the heart’s activity. The results of the ECG can be viewed directly on the PDA screen. They can also be transmitted through a wireless network to a computer for viewing at a different location. It is capable of storing several ECG readings, and displaying up to four separate results at the same time for comparison. The PDA can be connected to a printer to produce a hard copy of the readings.
Emergency health care workers can easily bring the ECG machine to patients in their homes, at an accident scene, or wherever it is needed. With the ability to transmit results anywhere in the world, a paramedic can take an ECG reading in an ambulance and send the results ahead to a doctor at the hospital. This translates into quicker care for the patient.