An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. An EKG shows the heart’s electrical activity as line tracings on paper. The spikes and dips in the tracings are called waves.

An EKG is done to:

• Check the heart’s electrical activity.
• Find the cause of unexplained chest pain or pressure.
• Find the cause of symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, and heartbeats that are rapid and irregular (palpitations).
• Find out if the walls of the heart chambers are too thick.
• Check how well medicines are working and see if they are causing side effects that affect the heart.
• Check how well mechanical devices that are implanted in the heart, such as pacemakers, are working.
• Check the health of the heart when other diseases or conditions are present including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes, and a family history of early heart disease.