An EKG (electrocardiogram) machine interprets and records the electrical impulses of the heart for diagnostic uses. While EKG’s aren’t a form of treatment, they can help doctors diagnose and establish the proper treatment for a specific heart condition by providing a close look at the heart and how it’s functioning.
Medical professionals from your local pediatrician to veterinarians and heart specialists use EKG machines so if you’ve ever wondered how to become an EKG tech you’ll find that there are several fields to choose from. When it comes to treating animals, most reputable institutions will cover using EKG machines as well as other high tech medical tools.
EKG machines are relatively small in size and are viewed as portable, consisting of a small box that holds the machine, which is hooked up to electrodes. The impulses that are picked up by these electrodes are recorded in pairs, with each pair referred to as a lead. Various EKG machines include 3 lead, 5 lead and 12 lead electrocardiograms.
Each EKG lead studies the heart from a different angle with 3 and 5 lead EKGs being portable and recording a limited amount of heart activity, typically used to monitor the heart in an ambulance on the way to the hospital or during surgery. 12 lead EKG machines view the heart from 12 angles and provide the kind of readings that are essential for monitoring and diagnosing patients that suffer from heart conditions of varying degrees.
In a 12 lead EKG, 6 of the electrodes are affixed to the skin on the chest around the heart followed by 4 others being attached to each arm and leg. The 10 additional electrodes are combined in 12 different ways to read 12 distinct angles on the heart. As the heart depolarizes with every heartbeat, the electrodes read the electrical impulses on the skin that are produced as a result. Next, these impulses travel back to the EKG machine and are then interpreted and printed out onto a graph the EKG tech and physician are trained to read.
It’s the patient’s heart is healthy the graph that prints out will have an orderly wave progression with every heartbeat, while a heart that has damaged tissue or if the patient has hear disease, the graph will show irregularities in the heart’s size, position and/or rhythm.
When it comes to pediatric applications, the professionals that use them to calculate interpretations on infants as young as a 1 day old. Veterinarians use EKG machines for the same purposes as pediatricians and other trained medical professionals; to observe any heart damage or irregularities and to regulate and observe the function of foreign medical objects.
As an EKG tech you’ll have the ability to monitor the heart and study symptoms that include heart murmur, arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, myocardial infarction, and more, giving doctors the ability to monitor treatment results, diagnose early and advanced heart conditions, and make changes and recommendations for treatment, medication, and surgery.