Monitoring the Heart

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Electrocardiography: Electrical Impulses

Every time the heart beats, tiny electrical impulses are discharged. Using a process called electrocardiography, those electrical discharges can be recorded and used to measure the heart's condition. Several thin wires are attached to the body. The wires conduct the electrical charges into a machine that measures them and produces a readout.

Since most electrocardiograms show a healthy heart for patients at rest, doctors take the readout while the patient is under the stress of strenuous activity. Stress electrocardiography reveals a different picture of the heart's health. Usually, the patient walks on a treadmill machine while the heart readings are taken.

EKG Machine EKG Printout

CLICK to enlarge: Here you can see a typical machine used for electrocardiography as well as an example of a print-out.

Learn more about Electrocardiograms

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You are viewing a page in The Franklin Institute's online exploration of the human heart. It is one of many Resources for Science Learning which inspire scientific curiosity.

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