Resting Electrocardiogram (ECG)
What is a resting ECG?
A resting ECG, or electrocardiogram, records your heart rate and rhythm and can also give your doctor information about your heart’s electrical system and other aspects of your cardiac health.
A resting ECG is different from a resting echo, which is an ultrasound of the heart.
Why might I need a resting ECG?
A resting ECG gives information to your cardiologist about the electrical system and general health of your heart. This information cannot be obtained by talking to you or examining your heart with equipment such as a stethoscope.
What to expect during a resting ECG?
An ECG is a painless, non-invasive test and takes around 5-10 minutes.
- You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and lie on a bed.
- The technician will place ECG electrodes, usually small metal discs, on your chest. These connect to an electrocardiograph (ECG) machine that monitors your heart’s electrical activity, especially the rate and regularity of your heartbeats. You will need to lie still during the test.
- The ECG machine will provide a paper or electronic recording for your doctor to review.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a resting ECG safe?
A resting ECG is a non-invasive, safe procedure. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, no electric currents are sent through your body.
How do I prepare for my ECG test?
- No specific preparation is required for an ECG.
- You do not need to fast for an ECG. Instead, continue to eat and drink as you usually would.
- We recommend you wear a two-piece outfit as you will need to undress to the waist.
- Please do not wear talc, body lotion or neck chains.
What happens immediately before the test?
- You will be asked to undress to the waist. Females will be provided with a gown for privacy.
- Men may require part of their chest to be shaved.
- Electrodes will be placed on your chest.
- Sometimes a gown is worn over the electrodes.
What happens during the test?
The test will be performed by a cardiac technician or nurse.
What happens after the test?
- Normal activities can usually be resumed after the test.
- One of our cardiologists will review the results and provide a complete report to your referring doctor.
- Depending on the results, your general practitioner or cardiologist will discuss the next steps with you. This test is often used to detect abnormal electrical activity.
Further testing such as a Holter monitor, may be required depending on what conditions are being investigated.
This information is of a general nature. If you are concerned about your heart health, discuss this with your local doctor.