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Electrocardiography – Types and Cost

The procedure known as electrocardiogram, electrocardiography or ECG is performed by doctors in order to detect and diagnose a number of heart-related problems and common defects, such as:

  • Arrhythmias
  • Heart valves problems
  • Narrow arteries or coronary artery disease
  • Heart attacks

It is a noninvasive and painless procedure that enables to monitor the patient’s heart. The electrocardiogram detects the electrical impulses generated from the heart, records the signals, and the doctor can assess the patterns of the heartbeats and rhythms. Results are usually immediate and reliable.

ECG has no risks and the procedure requires no particular preparation. It can be performed in a doctor’s office with the patient simply lying on the bed. Usually 15 electrodes are attached to the legs and the chest, with a bit of gel to help conduct the electrical current. The examination takes only a few minutes to perform.

After the electrocardiography procedure, the doctor will be able to give accurate feedback and decide whether other tests are necessary, depending on the signs and what is causing the symptoms.

Electrocardiography Results

A normal heart shows a consistent and even heart rhythm between 50 and 100 beats per minute. Deviations from this normal state might mean one of the following conditions:

  • Tachycardia – fast heartbeat.
  • Bradycardia – slow heartbeat.
  • Arrhythmia – irregular heartbeat.
  • Insufficient oxygen supply
  • Abnormalities in the structure of the heart (angina)
  • Heart attacks

Types of Electrocardiogram (ECG)

Sometimes, when the electrocardiography does not provide sufficient information, other types of electrocardiogram are required.

  • Holter monitoring – when the heartbeat is irregular, Holter monitoring might be imperative. It is called ECG monitor as it records the rhythm of the heart for 24 hours. It is a battery operated machine that the patient is instructed to carry in the pocket and to keep a diary on the activities and symptoms during that period.
  • Event recorder – when symptoms are seldom, event recorder allows to record the hearth rhythm and to send the ECG readings to the doctor via phone line.
  • Stress test – used when heart problems arise during training or exercise. Then the doctor suggests the stress test, consisting of a heartbeat reading during treadmill or stationary bike.

Electrocardiogram Cost

In the United States en ECG costs between $1,500 and $2,800. Health insurers usually partly cover the electrocardiogram cost, but it is also necessary to pay the radiologist to read the ECG results.

In typical medical tourism destinations like India or Thailand, the cost of an ranges between $150 and $500 including the radiologist’s fee.