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What is an EKG?

An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) records the electrical signal from your heart to check for different heart conditions. Electrodes are placed on your chest to record your heart's electrical signals, which cause your heart to beat. The signals are shown as waves on an attached computer monitor or printer.

Using the readout that is generated from an EKG, healthcare professionals can determine certain arrythmias (abnormal heartbeat) and treat them. An EKG is a critical part of emergency medical treatment.

What is the EKG program?

The EKG program allows HCEMS staff to take an EKG when you are not experiencing a medical emergency. This EKG will be placed in a secured and encrypted file. If you happen to call 911, notify the provider that you participate in the EKG program. This will allow ALS personnel to check for any changes on your EKG. Some changes on an EKG can be indicative of life threatening events such as acute myocardial infarction, or in simple words, a heart attack. This will allow EMS providers to make the the best possible decision in how and where you are transported.

Does the EKG program cost anything?

Absolutely not. The EKG program is free of charge!

Does an EKG hurt?

No, you should not feel any pain during an EKG, it is a passive and non-invasive procedure.

How often will you take my EKG?

We will usually notify you every year to have a new EKG captured. If you have a life altering event, such as a heart attack, you can call to have a new EKG placed on file.

Can I share my EKG with my doctor?

You can share any medical information with your doctor. It is your right as a patient. Your doctor may choose to capture their own EKG in the office.

Are you able to tell for sure that I am completely healthy from an EKG?

Our providers are trained to acquire and interpret EKGs. While we are well trained, we are not medical physicians. We simply do not have the tools, training, or resources that a physician has. If you have a concern about your health, you should always consult a physician. Our providers will never claim that you are completely healthy because of this.


You will be asked to either remove your shirt or to lift it up enough to expose your entire chest. If you have a significant amount of chest hair, it will have to be shaved. If you are female, you may be asked to remove your bra as well. You can choose to leave it on, but it may affect signal quality depending on how it is made.

Small stickers called electrodes will be placed on your chest in the positions shown here. In addition, electrodes will be placed on your arms and legs. Wires will be attached to these which allow the cardiac monitor to capture the electrical signals in your heart.

At this point you will be asked to lay or recline back and sit still. The EKG takes about 10-15 seconds to acquire and print. After this, you will be provided a copy and a copy will be sent to our secure server. At this time you can either remove the electrodes or have our provider do it for you. They are similar to a band-aid and can be a little painful to remove.