Electrocardiogram

Elettrocardiografo
Tracciato elettrocardiogramma


Electrocardiogram

Cardiac contractions are accompanied by a change in the electric potential of cardiac muscle cells. These changes are mirrored by the current and electric potential present in the body, which can be recorded on the epidermis.

What is an electrocardiogram ?

The electrocardiogram (ECG) is a graphic recording of the heart’s electric activity.

Easily performed, it is the most common examination that offers the doctor precious information about the current status of the heart.  

What is its purpose ?

This investigation is performed to evaluate electrical fluctuations in cardiac activity. It is performed to know whether the heart is in distress, and whether the cardiac rhythm is regular or not. Indeed, the information provided allows to identify the following issues:

  • rhythm disorders (arrhythmias);
  • deficient propagation of the electric impulse with subsequent depolarisation of heart muscle fibres (conduction disorders);

  • cardiac muscle status and cardiac alterations caused by coronary artery diseases (ischaemia), by other diseases that either affect or involve the heart (arterial hypertension, heart failure, pericarditis, etc.).   

The electrocardiogram allows to evaluate:

  • the heart rate and its regularity;
  • the presence of enlargements in the overall picture of the heart or in certain parts of it;
  • the onset of ischaemic distress (angina) in any heart districts or the death of such districts (infarction);
  • scarce or excessive blood levels of essential substances for our vital processes;
  • physical efficiency and a subject’s level of fitness;
  • the origin of disorders, such as palpitations or transient loss of consciousness.   

Cardiac diseases for which the ECG plays a diagnostically decisive role include:

  • ischaemic heart disease in its various clinical forms;
  • myocardial infarction;
  • angina pectoris;
  • arrhythmias;
  • conduction disorders;
  • heart valve diseases;
  • heart failure.  

The ECG reveals the presence of coronary artery distress both in acute conditions, such as infarction, which is usually indicated clearly and precisely by ECG plot alterations, and in chronic conditions that present significant electrocardiographic changes that allow the cardiologist to make a diagnosis and define the therapy.

How is it performed ?

It is a painless investigation that does not require any invasive manoeuvres; hence, it can be easily performed at the Pharmacy.

It is carried out with the electrocardiograph and by applying ten electrodes (current sensors) on the skin, with four electrodes placed one on each limb, and six on the chest, in standard positions.

Through the electrodes the electrocardiograph records the electric activity of the heart that reaches the body surface, amplifying it and recording it in twelve graphs printed on paper.

The cardiac impulse recorded allows to observe the heart from various positions (as if twelve photographs were taken of the same heart, each from a different angle).

What benefit does the ECG provide ?

The possibility of accessing the examination rapidly (within 24-48 hours from the request) and of receiving an instant report drawn up by a cardiologist. The service is provided at a definitely convenient cost and the quality of the examination is the same as in any other authorised facility.

The patient promptly receives the report drawn up by a 4Prevent Cardiologist directly at the Pharmacy where the examination was performed.