A painless way to monitor your heart

Huggins Hospital’s Cardio-Pulmonary Department is pleased to offer state-of-the-art testing for heart disease – the number one killer of both men and women.

An electrocardiogram (also known as an EKG or ECG) is sometimes confused with an echocardiogram, but they’re actually very different tests. An echocardiogram uses ultrasound waves to create an image of the heart, whereas an EKG is a simple test that records the electrical activity of your heart. The heart’s electrical activity is recorded from many angles and helps your physician to diagnose or rule out abnormalities. A specially trained nurse or technician will place small metal sensing disks on your arms, legs, and chest around the heart that record your heart’s electrical activity, rate, and rhythm and are shared with your physician. This information is used as an aid to diagnosis and, if necessary, plan your treatment.

An EKG takes less than 10 minutes to perform, is completely painless, and is commonly used to diagnose an irregular heartbeat (an "arrhythmia"). Huggins offers EKG tests within 24 hours, so we can quickly accommodate your physician’s order.

When your heart needs to be monitored for a longer period of time, however, your physician may recommend that you wear a Holter or Loop monitor. Like an EKG, these monitors use sensing disks to record the electrical activity, heart rate, and rhythm of your heart as you go about your day. Tracking is usually done for 24 hours or more, and you’ll keep a diary of your activities during that time frame to see if abnormal cardiac activity is linked to certain physical or emotional situations. These tests are available Monday through Friday.

Whichever test your physician chooses for you, if you have any questions or want to learn more about the benefits of an EKG, we hope you will call your health care provider or our Cardio-Pulmonary Department at 603.569.7567 or Huggins Hospital’s Medical Imaging Department at 603.569.7529. Our goal is to have you feel safe and comfortable before, during, and after your visit.