Electrocardiogram

Electrocardiogram

Students of Biology would have heard about the term electrocardiogram while studying about the functions of the human heart. It is a tool for diagnosis used regularly for assessing the muscular and electrical functions of the heart.  A lot of training for long duration hours is required to trace the ECG and interpret it despite the test seeming relatively easy to carry out. There are plenty of textbooks connected to this subject.  The electrical workings of the heart are measured by electrodes attached to the skin as the heart in none other than an electrical pump with two stages.

The ECG would show the indirect proof of blood flowing to the muscle of the heart along with measuring the rhythm and rate of heartbeat. For the tool to have a routine working, a standardized system has been developed for placing the electrode. For the heart to view electrical impulses at least 12 in number, ten electrodes are required.  A lead of an electrode is kept on every arm and leg with the wall of the chest with six of them. The signals originating from every electrode is recorded and it is shown in a printed format as an electrocardiograph.

The electrodes fixed on various body parts would measure the electric impulses that come from various parts around the heart.  Every electrode has normal patterns. Abnormal patterns would be the symptoms with the person having different heart disorders. Using this tool, one could detect different disorders like:

Heart Attack: Abnormal patterns of heart beats would help to detect these irregularities. A heart attack damages the muscles of the heart and the scar tissue is healed simultaneously.

Enlarged heart:  In this case, there would be larger impulses in place of normal ones.

Abnormal heart rhythms: This would be particularly in case of heart rates that are very slow, very fast or irregular in particular

What would Abnormal Rhythm mean?

The abnormal results would be the result of the following defects:

  • Heart Enlargement
  • Heart attack (previous or present)
  • Arteries with poor blood supply
  • Heart defect (congenital)
  • Muscle damage of heart
  • Fluctuations in electrolyte content (like calcium and potassium) in the blood
  • Swelling around the covering around the heart
  • Fluid or swelling in the sac around the heart

It should be noted that the accuracy of the result would be dependent on the conditions in which the test was conducted. Every problem of the heart would not be traced using this tool. There are certain heart conditions without any particular changes in the test results.

From the above discussion, one could say that ECG is an inevitable part while treating the ailments of the human heart and further editions of the same would dominate the field of medicine in the years to come.


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