When it comes to your heart health, nothing should be left to chance. If you are experiencing any symptoms of a heart problem, it’s important to be evaluated by your doctor or nearest urgent care provider as soon as possible to avoid worsening symptoms and/or a catastrophic event. One of the most valuable and frequently used tools for evaluating your cardiac function is the electrocardiogram (ECG). At MedNorth Urgent Care in Kalispell, MT, Dr. Shane Hill and Dr. Scott Rundle are committed to providing rapid, accurate, and comprehensive care and treatment for a wide range of symptoms and conditions, including potential heart problems. Keep reading for a closer look at the benefits of ECGs, and find out when it may be appropriate for you to have an ECG test performed.

What is an ECG?

Also called an EKG, the ECG (electrocardiogram) is a common test that is used to measure and assess a number of aspects of a patient’s cardiac function, including:

  • Heart rate
  • Heart rhythm
  • History of a heart attack
  • Previous damage to the heart
  • Obstructed blood flow to the heart
  • Lack of oxygen to the heart
  • Efficacy of a cardiac treatment
  • Enlargement of the heart

How does an ECG work?

An ECG typically involves the placement of electrode patches directly on a patient’s chest while he or she is still and at rest. These do not deliver electricity but instead simply measure the electrical signals of the heart. The data captured during an ECG is assessed by a medical professional to evaluate for the possibility of a variety of cardiac problems, including tachycardia, bradycardia, arrhythmia, heart attack, and others.

Is an ECG the same as a stress test?

Both the ECG and the stress test measure cardiac function, though an exercise stress test is typically performed while the patient is walking or even running on a treadmill, while the standard ECG is performed at rest.

In some cases, an ECG monitor is worn around the clock and records data to be evaluated at a later time. This is often the case with patients who have intermittent or unpredictable symptoms and/or a history of cardiac problems.

Do I need an ECG?

An ECG can certainly provide valuable insight into the heart health and cardiac function of anyone. However, most healthy patients with no personal or family history of cardiac conditions and no past or current cardiac symptoms do not need an ECG. If you do have a personal or family history of cardiac disease, heart attack, arrhythmia, and other problems, your physician may recommend routine ECGs. Finally, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, a visit to your nearest urgent care or ER for evaluation and ECG testing may be warranted:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain/angina
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Weak pulse
  • Heart pounding
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vertigo
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting/loss of consciousness

Safeguard your heart health with an ECG in Kalispell, MT

If you are having uncomfortable or worrisome cardiac symptoms, don’t delay a visit to your nearest Kalispell urgent care today. At MedNorth Urgent Care, Drs. Shane Hill and Scott Rundle are highly experienced in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating a complete range of cardiac symptoms through the use of ECG testing and many other advanced tools and technologies. To learn more about the benefits of an ECG, call to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today.

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