What Is an ECG Machine and How Does It Work?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming a life every 36 seconds. So it’s not uncommon for doctors to order an electrocardiogram (ECG test) to check for warning signs of poor heart health.

But what does an ECG machine do, exactly? And what can they tell us about our health? To get a clearer understanding, let’s take a look at this crucial piece of medical technology and how professionals can use them to improve the health and lives of patients.

What’s the Purpose of an ECG Machine?

The history of ECG machines goes back farther than you might guess. The first ECG was recorded in May of 1887, with the advent of practical ECG machines following in the decades to come.

But what is an ECG machine for?

In short, they’re used to record the electrical signals produced by the human heart. Although it’s a quick and painless procedure, the information produced can help doctors detect a variety of heart issues.

A healthcare provider might use an ECG machine to check for signs of an irregular heartbeat if blocked or narrowed arteries are causing chest pain, or to see how well a device like a pacemaker is working to regulate heart activity.

ECG’s have also become popular in consumer goods like smartwatches and fitness trackers. Although not as accurate as of the full-scale models a healthcare provider would use, these miniaturized models can help a user optimize their athletic activity.

But how does the machine tell us about an individual’s heart health?

How Does an ECG Machine Work?

To administer an ECG, a doctor will ask the subject to change into a hospital gown so that they can access the chest. They’ll then apply as many as 12 electrodes to the body, which in turn are connected to a monitor. The electrodes record the electrical activity of the heart, and a computer will render that information as waves on a monitor or roll of paper.

The doctor can usually analyze the results and discuss them with the patient the same day. The test can give them information about the patient’s resting heart rate, heart rhythm, and evidence of a prior heart attack. They can even be used to diagnose a heart attack that’s in progress.

They’re such a crucial piece of technology that they’re practically mandatory in doctor’s offices, clinics, and ambulances. Any health care provider without one is sure to be looking for an ECG machine for sale.

Using an ECG Machine to Establish a Baseline of Health

The ECG machine is a standard piece of medical equipment with a venerable pedigree of use. In the hands of a professional operator, they can produce valuable information about a patient’s health without the need for invasive procedures.

It’s no wonder that ECG technology has found its way into consumer goods like smartwatches. But it’s only one example of using technology to help people live better. To follow emerging trends in technology for a positive lifestyle, be sure to keep up with our latest health and tech news.

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