ECG and echocardiogram: what is it?

For the diagnosis of heart diseases is widely used by different research methods. Some of them allow you to learn about the structure of the heart muscle, while others give the opportunity to catch the first issue in his work. Consider two main methods of research on this and see what they show.

ECG: what is it?

Electrocardiogram (ECG) is a graphical record of the registration of the potentials that arise in the work of the heart and conducted to the surface of the human body. To capture this potential, using a special device – electrocardiograph. Already in the 20th century it was proven that heart at work releases a small amount of electrical energy. To catch her, was designed by special devices – electrocardiographs. After a number of consecutive transformations, these devices have learned to record the potential difference at the work of the heart and record these values on special paper or in computer memory.

The conductor signals from the body to the device are the special electrodes applied to the human body at certain points. To improve electrical conductivity between skin and electrode is put a special gel, which improves this indicator.

Why use an ECG?

This research method is one of the reliable ways to detect a malfunction of the heart muscle. So, on the basis of the data of the ECG can be suspected or to set:

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  • Heart rate and regularity. Allows you to identify the beats and arrhythmias.
  • Helps to establish acute and chronic damage to the heart muscle.
  • Gives you the opportunity to suspect metabolic electrolytes, potassium and calcium.
  • Allows you to establish a violation of intracardiac conduction (blockade).
  • Shows signs of coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction.
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    In addition, ECG can give information about extracardiac diseases, such as, help to suspect PE (pulmonary embolism).

    ЭКГ и эхокардиограмма: что это такое?

    Looks like a normal ECG?

    Human tissues are conductive, so electrical signals from the heart can be recorded. On paper, this record of the work of this body is a certain line and the teeth. Teeth and intervals on the ECG are denoted by Latin letters: Q, S, T, etc. Each of these teeth has certain parameters and reflects the work of a chamber of the heart. Thus, the prong P appears in the excitation of the Atria, and a negative Q wave is one of the signs of myocardial infarction. To disassemble own ECG the patient should not be. Experts over the years, hone their ability to interpret the signals of the ECG and correlate them with clinical data.

    In the analysis of the ECG to calculate heart rate and assess heart rate. Counting the intervals between the teeth, which gives the possibility to suspect a problem with the heart, exploring the state of the body at rest and many other factors. Important! When comparing the ECG with the normal values should not forget that the athletes, pregnant women and children up to 12 years cardiogram differs, and it is absolutely fine.

    What procedures can be performed under the supervision of the ECG?

    In addition to standalone procedure, an EKG is often carried out in combination with other research methods, such as:

  • Holter monitoring. This is a continuous ECG recording for 24 hours. For this purpose, the patient wears a special device that continuously records the heart. In parallel, the patient keeps a diary, where it records your physical activity and condition at this day. The indication for this study are arrhythmia, coronary heart disease and other problems.
  • Bicycle ergometry. In addition to the ECG alone, the patient may be asked to perform an EKG while riding on a special Bicycle, i.e. for physical exercise. This study allows to detect the insufficiency of blood supply and other diseases that do not manifest themselves alone. During the study, monitor the overall health of the patient, blood pressure and pulse.
  • Pharmacological test. It is another kind of load test, where instead of physical activity administered special substances that affect the heart, and in parallel record the ECG.
  • Transesophageal electrostimulation. In this study, the patient is administered a flexible catheter with electrode at the depth of 40 – 45 cm and set it at the level of the left atrium. This device speeds up the heart rate to a certain value, while the technician records the EKG. In this way it is possible to reveal latent coronary insufficiency and other disorders of the functioning of the body.
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    Echocardiogram: what is it?

    Echocardiogram is the study of the heart using ultrasound equipment. Many are familiar with the ultrasound method, which can be used to evaluate the performance of most internal organs, and the heart is no exception. This method of research allows to assess the condition of the valves and walls of the body, their thickness and volume of cavities, noticing anomalies and deviations in development, to learn about the features of the movement of blood through the cavities of the heart. This is a painless and safe research method that can be used in pregnant women and newborn children. Indications for echocardiography:

    • pain of an unknown nature in the heart;
    • coronary heart disease;
    • diagnosis of malformations of the newborn;
    • hypertension;
    • heart failure;
    • changes in the indices on the ECG;
    • acquired and congenital heart defects etc.

    How to carry out this study?

    For those who at least once in your life passed a ultrasound nothing new in this study is not. The patient lies on the couch, specialist treats him the chest with a special gel and apply a transducer, which transmits the image to the computer. The doctor evaluates and records the thickness of the volume of the cavity, condition of valves and other parameters. In addition to standard echocardiography, there could be other types of this study:

  • The echocardiography under pharmacological stress. The patient is administered drugs which mimic the physical strain on the heart and also conducting research. This method is suitable for patients with heart problems who cannot perform a treadmill test or a Bicycle.
  • Echocardiogram with exercise. For this patient do ultrasound of the heart, then put on the bike or treadmill, and then repeat the echocardiogram and compare the results.
  • Intravascular ultrasound examination. Carried out at cardiac catheterization. A sensor through the femoral vein down to the heart and record the parameters of his work.
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    ECG and echocardiography are methods of research which help to identify irregularities in the heart muscle. If necessary, they are combined with other types of studies that allow us to recognize hidden problems in the heart.

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