An electrocardiograph is a type of device that is used to detect and to diagnose abnormal activity in the heart. Electrocardiographs measure the electrical potentials on the body’s surface, and then create a record of the currents that are a part of the heart’s activity. Also called an EKG machine or an ECG, the machine is capable of picking up a substantial of information about the heart.
How electrocardiographs work
The electrocardiograph machines are small and most of them are easily portable. They come in a box that has the machine as well as the electrode leads that are attached to the patient. The doctor places the leads on the patient’s body. Several different types of machines exist – 3-lead, 5-lead, and 12-lead machines. Once the electrodes are attached to the patient and the machine is turned on, the leads are able to sense the electrical impulses from the heart. The doctors can then print the electrocardiograph, which provides them with the information they need regarding the patient’s heart.
The machine can record the activity of the heart and create a graph that the doctors are then able to look at to determine many different things about the patient’s heart. It can determine the regularity and the rate of the heartbeats, and even measure the size and the position of the chambers. It can help to find tissue that has been damaged or that is diseased, and it can often pick up on other irregularities. Many physicians use electrocardiographs to monitor pacemakers, as well as surgical repairs and the effects of drugs on the heart.
The device does not actually measure the ability of the heart to pump blood though, which is a common misconception. Some of the issues electrocardiographs can detect include heart murmurs, arrhythmia, seizures, and myocardial infarctions.
There are a number of different types of machine available with various numbers of leads. Those who are looking for a small and portable device will likely want to choose a 3-lead or 5-lead machine. Some of the manufacturers that make these machines include Bionet, Midmark, Cardiac Science Corporation, GE, Philips, and Schiller.