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What Is An EKG?

KYW Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Our heart is an amazing organ –it just keeps beating and beating.

It is as if it is plugged into the electric socket to get power. The concept is actually not that far off because electrical impulses run from the top to the bottom of your heart. As a result, your heart contracts and pumps blood.

Your doctor can use a test called an electrocardiogram—sometimes referred to as an EKG or ECG—to check the function of this wiring system. When you go for the test, a nurse or technician will strap about 12 soft, sticky patches to your body. Each patch holds an electrode that monitors your heart's electrical activity. EKG tests help your doctor detect or diagnose a wide variety of heart problems. That's because damage or irregularities can change the electric flow and the EKG picks it up.

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