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Having an EKG

What is an EKG?
An EKG is a record of the electrical activity in your heart.

How is an EKG done?
Ten sensors are attached to your arms, legs, and chest (around the heart area).  These sensors "listen" to your heartbeat and make a pattern.  Electrical impulses associated with heart contraction and relaxation are recorded.  From the pattern on your EKG tracing, your doctor can check the electronic activity of your heart.

Will the EKG hurt?
An EKG is completely painless.  No electricity goes into your body, and there is no chance of electrical shock.

Before Your Test
Do not apply any powders, oils or lotions to the chest prior to your test.  It may be necessary to shave areas of the body where the sensors are attached.  There are no restrictions on food, liquid or medications prior to this test.

Bring the following for your EKG:

  • The completed WakeMed Physician Order Form
  • Your insurance card and information
  • Any papers your doctor tells you to bring

When you arrive at any of the WakeMed campuses, please report to the Patient Registration area. You will be asked for information that is required for our records and insurance companies.  We will also ask you for your height and weight (this is required for the cardiologist to interpret the tracing).

How long will it take to perform the EKG?
The actual test will take no more than 20 minutes. Since no appointments are necessary, patients are taken in the order they arrive at the laboratory.

What will the laboratory personnel ask me to do?
This test requires a bare chest to position the EKG sensors, so you will be asked to undress only to your waist.  Pant legs must be rolled up to above the knees, and pantyhose must be removed to allow placement of the EKG sensors.  Jewelry does not need to be removed.  You will simply lie flat on your back on the EKG table (bed) and relax.

What happens to my EKG tracing?
Your EKG tracing is read by a cardiologist (a heart specialist).  The results will be sent to the physician that requested the test.  Laboratory employees are not permitted to release test results to patients.

Where do I go to have my EKG?
A team of doctors, nurses and laboratory staff work together to see that you receive the best of care during your EKG (Electrocardiogram). You do not need an appointment for this procedure.  Outpatient EKG’s are performed at:

 WakeMed Apex Healthplex
 WakeMed Brier Creek Healthplex
 WakeMed Cary Hospital  
 WakeMed Garner Healthplex
 WakeMed North Family Health & Women's Hospital
 WakeMed Raleigh Medical Park