Heart disease is still the biggest threat to American’s lives, affecting both males and females. Diagnosing heart problems in their early stages is the best way to try and ensure the best possible outcomes for those with cardiac problems. As people become more aware of the need for diagnostic testing the demand for EKG technicians is increasing.
What is an EKG?
EKGs (also sometimes referred to as a “12 lead test”) are quite literally electrical recordings of an individual’s heart activity. To perform an EKG the technician attaches leads to various parts of a patient’s body which are then attached to the EKG machine that will take the readings. The correct positioning of these leads is crucial, as incorrectly placed leads may result in inaccurate readings. While in school an EKG technician is taught exactly how to do this, as well as how to operate the machinery itself.
Once the EKG machine has finished collecting data a report is printed that is then sent to the ordering physician (usually a cardiologist) for interpretation.
What Else does an EKG Technician Do?
Stress Testing - In addition to the basic EKG tests an EKG tech often helps conduct stress testing. These tests are usually ordered for patients who have had abnormal basic EKG tests or are actively complaining of regular chest pain. After obtaining an accurate medical history from their patient the EKG technician attached those 12 leads again but this time the patient is asked to walk on a treadmill for a fixed period of time rather than simply remain immobile. The EKG tech than varies the speed and incline of the treadmill to induce stress on the heart. Because of this intentionally induced stress a cardiologist will be present at this kind of testing to ensure patient safety.
Holter Monitoring – Holter monitoring is an extended test procedure that is generally ordered so that physicians can ascertain if there is a problem with heart rhythm or with the function of a pacemaker that is already in place. This test involves the patient wearing a monitor device for at least 24 hours while going about their usual daily activities.
At the outset the EKG technician is the person who places the required leads and wires for the patient and attaching the portable monitor belt that will take the readings. When the patient returns after the specified amount of time the EKG tech carefully removes the monitor and gathers and prints the data it has collected for the cardiologist to review.
How To Perform An EKG On a Patient