Your doctor may recommend an electrocardiogram (EKG) if you have signs or symptoms that suggest a heart problem. Examples of such signs and symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Heart pounding, racing, or fluttering, or the sense that your heart is beating unevenly
- Breathing problems
- Tiredness and weakness
- Unusual heart sounds when your doctor listens to your heartbeat
You may need to have more than one EKG so your doctor can diagnose certain heart conditions.
An EKG also may be done as part of a routine health exam. The test can screen for early heart disease that has no symptoms. Your doctor is more likely to look for early heart disease if your mother, father, brother, or sister had heart disease—especially early in life.
You may have an EKG so your doctor can check how well heart medicine or a medical device, such as a pacemaker, is working. The test also may be used for routine screening before major surgery.
Your doctor also may use EKG results to help plan your treatment for a heart condition.