Walk-In ECG Procedure
ECG is a non-invasive procedure that records the electrical activity of the heart at rest. Electrodes placed on the skin measure heartbeat regularity. This information can be used to assess heart rate, rhythm, blood pressure (hypertension), and symptoms such as palpitations or chest pain (angina).
Insight Medical Imaging offers ECG exams on a walk-in basis at most locations. All exams require a doctor’s requisition, Alberta Health Care card, and photo identification. We do not book appointments for ECG. Therefore, this service is first-come, first-serve. If you are unable to take time off work during the day, we recommend visiting a clinic that has extended hours in the evenings or over the weekend for your ECG exam.
What are ECGs used for?
By performing an ECG, certain information regarding the heart’s activity can be provided. The ECG exam allows a doctor to determine how long the electrical wave takes to pass through the heart by measuring time intervals on the ECG. To ascertain if the electrical activity in the heart is normal, slow, fast, or irregular, a doctor will measure how long a wave takes to travel from one part of the heart to the next. Additionally, the amount of electrical activity passing through the heart muscle can indicate whether parts of the heart are too large or are overworked.
An ECG exam will allow your doctor to:
- Analyze your heart rhythm
- Diagnose potential problems, such as a heart attack
- Ascertain if you have poor blood flow to your heart
- Discover any abnormalities
- Detect any deficiencies or surplus of electrolytes such as potassium or calcium
ECG vs. EKG vs. Electrocardiogram Tests
Researching ECG imaging can be confusing and frustrating, as multiple abbreviations are used interchangeably with no explanation. While spelling variations may imply various unique exams, all three terms are synonymous, referring to the same cardiac assessment.
The difference in abbreviations stems from language translations between German and English. The German language spells electrocardiogram as elektro-kariographie, hence the acronym EKG. Therefore, there is no actual difference between ECG, EKG, and electrocardiograms.
Electrocardiogram vs. Echocardiogram
Insight Medical Imaging offers multiple types of scans to examine the heart, including electrocardiograms (ECG) and echocardiograms. These two tests are often confused because they have similar spelling and are often used in conjunction as they are complementary for cardiac assessments. However, each exam provides your doctor and our cardiologists and radiologists with different information, so it is important to understand the differences between both exams.
ECG exams record the electrical activity of your heart at rest using a heartbeat monitor. The monitor records the rhythm of the heartbeat, and our internal medicine specialist analyzes the pattern for inconsistencies.
Echocardiograms provide images of internal structures and how the blood flows through the heart. This exam is done by ultrasound, which uses high-frequency sound waves to investigate the communication and function of your heart’s anatomy, such as valves, vesicles, and atriums.
What Happens During my ECG Test?
- After you’ve checked in, a technologist will give you a gown to change into.
- Once in the examination room, you will have six leads placed on your chest, plus one on each arm and leg. We attach the leads as discretely as possible for your comfort.
- Occasionally, men will opt to take their shirt off instead of changing into a gown, based on their comfort level.
- One of our internal medicine specialists will review the results and send a detailed report to your doctor. We try our best to send the results as soon as possible, usually within one business day.
Is there any danger or risk associated with ECG Tests?
ECG exams are safe and there are no pain or risks associated with the ECG procedure. When the ECG electrodes are removed there may be some slight discomfort. Furthermore, the actual ECG exam is completely safe and does not send any electricity into the body but merely records the heart’s existing electrical signals.
- Please save your questions until the end, as talking during this procedure can change your heart rate and impact your exam results.
- Sometimes we may need to shave or clean the patient’s chest so the electrodes can be attached properly.
Our ECG technologist will help position you on a bed, where you will lie flat on your back while we attach the leads for your ECG exam.
If you have an Alberta Health Care card or valid healthcare card from out of province, there is no cost for a walk-in ECG procedure (except Quebec).
Typical ECGs take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Exam length can vary based on each patient.
ECG Procedure Questions:
Although ECG exams are non-invasive and risk-free, it is recommended that you avoid drinking excessive amounts of cold water or exercising directly before your ECG. The cold water can cause alterations in the electrical patterns of your heart and the exercise can increase your heart rate, both of which can affect your ECG test results.
Insight Medical Imaging offers ECG exams on a walk-in basis at most locations. Therefore, this service is first-come, first-serve and appointments are unnecessary. Visit a clinic that has extended hours in the evenings or over the weekend if you are unable to take time off work during the day for your ECG exam.
We offer walk-in ECG exams at our Castledowns, Heritage, Hermitage, Leduc, Meadowlark Diagnostic Imaging, Millwoods, Oliver Square, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, and West End locations. For more information on our locations and our ECG services, contact us or visit our locations page.
Although receiving your results of your ECG can rely on a number of factors we try our best to send the results as soon as possible, usually within one business day. One of our internal medicine specialists will review your ECG results and send a detailed report to your doctor.
ECG Exam Preparation Procedure
Planning your next appointment? Learn more about electrocardiography exam preparation and find the clinic most convenient for you.