For people with chest pain, an EKG can sometimes determine whether a person has had a heart attack or help determine a person's risk of having a heart attack.
Does it hurt?
It shouldn't. There aren't needles involved, so the only thing you'll feel that could hurt is when the medical staff pulls off the electrodes.
What are the risk factors?
There isn't generally a risk of being electrocuted during an EKG. The electrodes are not emitting electricity but rather recording your heart's electrical activity.
There's a rare chance that you might be allergic to the tape on the electrodes. If it does develop, the rash shouldn't last a long period of time and should go away without treatment.
What's the follow-up?
What happens after the EKG will depend on what's found.
If your doctor is concerned about increased thickness of your heart muscle, he or she might order an echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart. Your doctor might also order an echocardiogram if there's concern about congestive heart failure.
If your doctor is concerned you are at risk for a heart attack, he or she might recommend you undergo a stress test or an angiogram of your heart. An angiogram is a special X-ray test that shows the insides of your coronary arteries.
As with any medical care, you should talk openly with your doctor and ask questions about any concerns you might have.
Dr. Rakesh Shrivastava,
a cardiologist at Midwest Regional Medical
Center; National Institutes
of Health; The Mayo Clinic.