Blog Post

When is an EKG Necessary?

It’s unsettling to hear that your heart needs additional testing, but just because your doctor recommends an electrocardiogram (EKG) doesn’t mean you’re doomed to have a heart issue. 

We turn to EKG for several reasons, but the primary goal is to gather real-time data on how your heart functions. 

In this blog, Dr. Fahmi Farah and our team at Bentley Heart in Fort Worth, Texas, walk you through the ins and outs of the EKG so you can know what to expect. 

What is an EKG?

An EKG is a quick, painless, noninvasive diagnostic test we use to record the heart's electrical activity. You read that correctly: electrical activity. 

Your heart isn’t just a powerful muscle. It also runs on perfectly timed electrical pulses that trigger muscle contracts that pump your blood. 

When we hook you up to an EKG machine, we see the movement and timing of the electrical pulses as they move through the upper right and left chambers of your heart down to the lower chambers. 

Why you might need an EKG

EKGs are one of our most powerful tools for uncovering and preventing heart problems. You may need an EKG if you present with any of the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations
  • Irregular or fast heart rate
  • Chest pain, especially during exercise
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Weakness

EKGs can uncover many types of heart problems, including coronary artery disease (CAD), and can even tell us if you’ve recently had a heart attack that went undetected. 

Sometimes, we use EKGs to prevent certain heart issues. For instance, if you have a family history of heart problems, we might recommend you have regular EKGs to catch an issue in its earliest stages. 

What to expect during your EKG

We perform EKGs in our office, and the best part is that they usually only take a few minutes. To start, Dr. Farah or a technician attaches electrodes to specific areas of your chest, arms, and legs. Then, we turn on the EKG machine and wait a few minutes (around 5-10) for enough trackable data. 

All you have to do is lie as still as possible and breathe normally — there are no other prep work or pre-procedure requirements. However, we may ask you to avoid caffeinated beverages, foods, and medications before your test to ensure we get the most accurate results. 

Once your EKG is over, you can get right back to your routine. In a few days, we will call you with your results, and depending on what they are, we may ask you to come in for repeat or additional testing, like cardiac monitoring or echocardiography

Cardiac monitoring allows us to track your heart’s activity over a longer period of time. We may recommend echocardiography to take images of your heart if we suspect a structural problem or blockage. 

Dr. Farah walks you through every stage of your diagnostic testing so you know exactly what to expect and understand what your test results mean regarding your heart health status. 

If you need to schedule an EKG, call our friendly staff at 817-720-5185 or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment.