Some conditions which may cause changes in the ECG pattern include:
- An enlarged heart. Conditions such as heart defects present at birth (congenital), problems with heart valves, high blood pressure, or heart failure may cause an enlarged heart.
- Ischemia. This means the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen due to fatty buildup in the arteries, preventing adequate blood flow.
- Conduction disorders. This means a problem with the heart's electrical system. The heart may beat too fast, too slow, or at an uneven rate.
- Abnormal electrolytes. This means having too much or too little of some minerals (electrolytes) in the blood. The minerals include potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
- Pericarditis. This is an inflammation or infection of the sac that surrounds the heart.
- Chest injury. This could be from a car accident.
An ECG may also be done for other reasons. For example, the healthcare provider might want to look for problems during a checkup or physical exam, or before surgery or another procedure.There are no risks associated with ECG. Some children may have a reaction to the adhesive used to attach the ECG leads.Your child does not need to do anything special for an ECG. The technician will explain how the test is done.
An ECG can be done almost anywhere. The equipment is very compact and portable. The equipment used includes the ECG machine, skin electrodes, and lead wires. The wires attach the electrodes to the ECG machine.
An ECG takes about 5 to 10 minutes, including attaching and detaching electrodes.
An ECG typically includes the following steps:
- Your child will lie flat on a table or bed. He or she will need to lie still and not talk during the procedure. Parents can usually be present in the room.
- The ECG technician will attach small plastic patches (electrodes) to your child's chest. One electrode will be attached to each arm and leg.
- The lead wires will be attached to the electrodes.
- The ECG machine is started. It will take only a few minutes for the test to be completed.
- Once the test is done, the technician will disconnect the leads and remove the electrodes.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure for your child make sure you know:
- The name of the test or procedure
- The reason your child is having the test or procedure
- What results to expect and what they mean
- The risks and benefits of the test or procedure
- When and where your child is to have the test or procedure
- Who will do the procedure and what that person’s qualifications are
- What would happen if your child did not have the test or procedure
- Any alternative tests or procedures to think about
- When and how will you get the results
- Who to call after the test or procedure if you have questions or your child has problems
- How much will you have to pay for the test or procedure
October 26, 2017
Moyer. Screening for Coronary Heart Disease With Electrocardiography: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2012; 157:512–518.
Gandelman, Glenn, MD, MPH,Bass, Pat F., III, MD, MPH