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5 Cool Things About EKGs

Modern Medicine Image Gallery EKGs are used to test the condition of your heart. See more modern medicine pictures.

When your doctor says you need medical testing, you might immediately jump to a worst-case scenario, complete with images of fatal diseases and premature death running through your head. And even if you tend to remain calm at the doctor's, the fact that the test is called an electrocardiogram may sound especially frightening. It's hard, after all, to remain calm when your doctor reveals he'll be attaching 12 to 15 electrodes to your body, particularly if you're a fan of Frankenstein movies.

An electrocardiogram, which is abbreviated as either EKG or ECG, is a lot less intimidating than it sounds. To put it simply, an EKG is a test of your heartbeat. Every time your heart beats, an electric wave travels through the heart, which causes it to pump blood. By conducting an EKG, doctors can use information about your heart's electrical activity to determine the condition of your heart.

Still wary? Well, we've got five cool things to keep in mind about EKGs.