Understanding the ECG Lab Tests

Doctor reading ecg lab tests

There are various ECG lab tests that urgent care clinics can perform. MainStreet Family Care is here to help you understand the ones we provide in our services. 

What Are ECG Lab Tests? 

Electrocardiograms, also known as ECG or EKG lab tests, measure the electrical signals emitted by the heart. They are noninvasive, not painful, and extremely effective at providing details about your heart health. 

When you get an ECG, the provider will remove the clothes on your upper body and place electrodes (sticky dots) on your chest that are attached to wires. These wires lead back to the ECG machine that will tell the medical staff important stats about the activity of the heart. 

ECG tests are one of our services offered in lab tests at MainStreet Family Care

Types Of EKG Lab Tests

There are three types of ECG tests that can be performed.

Resting EKG Test  

One of the most common is the resting EKG, in which you lie as still as possible while the test is completed. This takes anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes. 

Ambulatory EKG Test

This test requires you to wear a Holter monitor or event monitor for around 24 hours, and you can move around while it is attached to you. 

These are typically most helpful when symptoms are not persistent and would likely not show in a short time frame as required by a resting test. Sometimes they are also used after a patient has had a heart attack to ensure the heart muscle is functioning well. 

Stress Test 

Another extremely common ECG test is a stress test, which monitors how well your heart does during exercise. Normally the provider will attach the electrodes to your body, then have you perform various exercises to monitor your heart rhythms during stressful activity.  

When Do I Need An ECG Test? 

Your provider may require you to get an ECG test done if you are experiencing the following symptoms: 

  • Chest pain
  • Unusually fast pulse
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Shortness of breath

What Conditions Can These Tests Detect? 

If you are having unusual symptoms, your provider is likely trying to see if you have any heart problems or a heart condition. Test results from an echocardiogram (ECG) can detect: 

  • Coronary artery disease, which can lead to heart attacks. 
  • Irregular heart beats (arrhythmias) 
  • If previous treatments for heart disease (pacemakers) are functioning properly

Each of these conditions requires treatment due to the complications they can cause. 

How Should I Prepare For An EKG Test? 

There are no extensive preparations for an EKG test; however, there are several things you should notify your provider about if you are getting one done. Before the test, you should tell your provider which medications you are taking and if you have any allergies to adhesive tapes. 

Otherwise, you can do all normal activities before getting an EKG test. 

Turn To MainStreet Family Care 

If you think you need an ECG test, MainStreet Family Care is here for you. To visit a clinic, register online. You will be able to wait from your vehicle or home until we are ready to see you. 

Walk-ins are always welcome, but please be aware that registering online reduces in-clinic wait times. Walk-ins are added to the same queue as those who register online.