An electrocardiogram is a painless, noninvasive way to diagnose many common types of heart problems. Your doctor may use an electrocardiogram to detect:

  • Irregularities in your heart rhythm (arrhythmias)
  • If blocked or narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease) are causing chest pain or a heart attack
  • Structural problems with your heart's chambers
  • A previous heart attack
  • How well ongoing heart disease treatment, such as a pacemaker, is working

If you have a family history of heart disease, your doctor may suggest an electrocardiogram as an early screening test, even if you have no symptoms. It's unclear how helpful electrocardiograms are in screening people who don't have symptoms.

Sept. 12, 2015