Electrocardiogram

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Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG from German: Elektrokardiogramm) is a transthoracic (across the thorax or chest) interpretation of the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time, as detected by electrodes attached to the outer surface of the skin and recorded by a device external to the body.

ECG is used to measure the rate and regularity of heartbeats, as well as the size and position of the chambers, the presence of any damage to the heart, and the effects of drugs or devices used to regulate the heart, such as an artificial pacemaker.

Most ECGs are performed for diagnostic or research purposes on human hearts, but may also be performed on animals, usually for diagnosis of heart abnormalities or research.