Harvard Heart Letter

Tracing the heart’s electrical signature

When, why, and how you might get an electrocardiogram. Although the first recorded electrocardiogram dates back more than a century, this noninvasive test remains one of medicineís essential tools. Itís quick and painless, produces results right away, and helps diagnose dozens of heart conditions. Any heart-related symptoms, such as chest pain or palpitations, warrant an electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG or EKG (from the German elektrokardiogramm). …

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