Some features of this website DO NOT support IE. Please use Chrome or Edge, or other browsers.

Types of Electrocardiograms (ECG or EKG)


No other condition is as expensive and fatal as heart disease in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), not only is heart disease, such as coronary artery disease, very common nationwide, but its toll on healthcare, lost productivity, economy and quality of life costs about $351 billion annually. Despite this, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) report that 80% of heart attacks are preventable. This is done via consistent medical therapy and regular checkups. One of the most trusted and useful tests that healthcare providers rely on is the electrocardiogram (ECG, or EKG).

What does an ECG do?

An ECG is a relatively quick, painless, and non-invasive test that measures the electrical activity of your heart. Since the heart releases an electrical discharge with every beat, an ECG can monitor for any abnormalities that may signal a blockage, weakness, or congenital anomaly. Today, there are various types of ECGs that doctors can order to provide clear information about a patient’s cardiovascular wellness.


The different types of ECGs:

Resting 12-lead ECG

As its name implies, a 12-lead ECG provides 12 displays that are derived by using 10 electrodes. It is considered a resting ECG, so patients are simply required to lay down, or sit up for the duration of the test — which takes about 5 to 10 minutes. This is the most common type of ECG and also one of the easiest to complete. Because you are asked to stay still during a resting ECG, the results that it will record are typically reflective of your heart at rest — hence its name.

However, since the traditional 12-lead ECG requires a considerable degree of medical know-how to properly attach the electrodes and then translate its findings, many specialists and patients are also turning to more contemporary devices like the PCA 500. As the world’s smallest and most versatile 12-lead ECG platform, it simplifies the process using a single-use strip with pre-positioned electrodes, a compact recorder, mobile support apps, a HIPAA compliant cloud management system, and machine learning-powered diagnostics. This enables patients and in-field medical personnel to conduct their own 12-lead ECGs without the need for a dedicated clinical space.

Exercise ECG

Also called a stress test, this ECG monitors the heart’s capabilities and activity under physically demanding conditions, such as exercise. Usually, this test is done in controlled environments with the patient hooked up to an ECG and asked to walk on a treadmill or pedal on a stationary bike. For about 10 to 20 minutes, the intensity of the exercise is gradually increased. This type of ECG is usually performed on those who have exercise symptoms, under evaluation for surgery or catheterization, or those at risk of a heart attack. For this test to provide a clear and unbiased result, patients may be asked to fast and hold off certain medications
beforehand. This allows the ECG to record the heart without any external factors that may otherwise impede or improve its base performance.

Holter Monitor

As a portable ECG, the Holter monitor is an option for those who need to be monitored for an extended period of time. Using adhesive-backed electrodes connected to a monitor (which can be strapped onto your waistband), the device will record any irregularities that may not be picked up during shorter ECG tests. In order to accurately record your heart’s activity during this period, a Holter monitor depends on the device’s signal integrity. A well-made monitor will be outfitted in compliance with its smaller component’s thermal and bandwidth demands. Thus, Holter monitors are capable of disseminating any heat built up and can continuously record ECG. This makes it safe and accurate even as the patient goes about their daily activities. In the event that a doctor is trying to record sporadic abnormalities or study the effects of a new medication, the Holter monitor may need to be
worn for 24-72 hours, and sometimes up to 14 days.


Which ECG is for me?

Deciding on the best type of ECG will depend on a careful assessment by your physician. While some patients may specifically request for a certain ECG — and this is within their rights to — the testing tools and methodology will come from the healthcare provider after considering your unique symptoms, lifestyle, and treatment plan. But rest assured, no matter what your circumstances are, there is an ECG to aid in your heart health.


Post specially written for
Post by: JBundy

Back to List


This website uses cookies to collect information about your browsing session so we can provide the best experience possible.