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Echocardiogram vs. EKG/ECG: what to expect

What is an EKG/ECG?

First, an EKG/ECG, or electrocardiogram, is commonly for measuring and recording the electrical signals in the heart. Further, it is a common non-invasive test, quickly detecting heart problems while monitoring heart health.

What is an Echocardiogram?

So, an Echocardiogram, or echo, is commonly used for identifying heart disease. It works by using sound waves, producing images of the heart. It is a common non-invasive test, allowing for a doctor to see your heart beating and pumping blood.

When would you need an EKG/ECG?

  • You’re experiencing abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmias)
  • If coronary artery disease is causing chest pain or a heart attack
  • Whether you have had a previous heart attack
  • Seeing how well heart disease treatments, like pacemakers, are working

Symptoms for EKG/ECG

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness, Lightheadedness, Confusion
  • Heart palpitations
  • Rapid pulse
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness, Fatigue

When would you need an Echocardiogram?

  • Checking for problems with heart valves or heart chambers
  • Understanding if heart problems are the cause of symptoms
  • Detecting congenital heart defects before birth

Symptoms for Echocardiogram

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Leg swelling
  • Abnormal EKG results
  • Heart murmurs

How long does an EKG/ECG take?

An EKG takes about 5 minutes. In fact, a majority of this time is spent applying the leads as the tracing only takes a couple of seconds.

How long does an Echocardiogram take?

An Echocardiogram takes about 20 minutes. Further, spending about 5 minutes of that time is preparing, and 15 minutes taking images. 

What information does an EKG/ECG provide?

An EKG/ECG works by providing information on the heart rhythm and heart rate. In addition, it does this by heart tracing. In fact, abnormal heart tracings can lead to diagnosing various forms of heart disease.

The most common use of an EKG would be evaluating suspected heart attacks. 

What information does an Echocardiogram provide?

An Echocardiogram works by providing information on the heart function and heart structure. Specifically, it does this by taking images of the heart. Further, showing accurate images of the heart chamber sizes and the heart pumping function.

Most importantly, the main use of an Echocardiogram would be evaluating and diagnosing heart failure.

How EKG/ECGs and Echocardiograms work together:

EKG/ECG Machines and Echocardiograms work hand and hand. So, if a patient comes back with an abnormal EKG/ECG reading, an Echocardiogram would be the next step.

For example, if a patient’s EKG/ECG reading is suggesting a potential heart attack, using an Echocardiogram helps with visualizing the damage.

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