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Dr Chris Steadman is an NHS and Private Consultant Cardiologist working in Poole and Bournemouth, Dorset, England.


Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a recording of the electrical activity of the heart.

A 12-lead ECG captures the heart rhythm at a single moment in time, a longer recording can be made using an Ambulatory ECG, described below.

The electrocardiogram (ECG) is a simple investigation performed by attaching stickers and leads to your chest and limbs.

It can diagnose cardiac conditions, including:

  • abnormal heart rhythms
  • abnormal electrical conduction
  • previous heart attacks
  • underlying heart muscle problems (cardiomyopathy).
A 12-lead ECG.

A 12-lead ECG.

Whilst a single ECG can diagnose heart conditions many findings are transient and therefore only detected if an ECG is done at the correct time.

An Ambulatory ECG is a device that monitors the heart rhythm for between 1 and 7 days and can be worn under normal clothing.

There are various devices available and your cardiologist will recommend a different device depending on your underlying symptoms.