An electrocardiogram or EKG is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart and translates it into waves on paper for a doctor to analyze. An EKG can be used to determine:
- The cause of chest pain or other heart disease symptoms
- How well heart medications are working
- If the walls of the heart are too thick
- How well mechanical devices such as pacemakers are working
- Check the overall health of the heart that is affected by other diseases
The test will be performed by placing small metal discs called electrodes on different areas of the body. The electrodes are connected to a machine that will trace your heart activity onto paper. The test usually takes 5-10 minutes.
Spirometry is a pulmonary exam used to diagnose conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and evaluate the overall function of the lungs for patients suffering from chronic lung conditions. This test measures the amount of air the lungs can hold, as well as how fast the air can be exhaled by asking the patient to breathe through a tube attached to a spirometer, which will calculate the results. A bronchodilator may be given as part of this exam to more precisely detect any breathing obstructions.
Spirometry is recommended for patients with a chronic cough, shortness of breath, a family history of bronchitis or emphysema and for those who smoke. Each measurement process takes just a few minutes to perform, and results can be discussed with the doctor right away. Additional testing may be required in order to accurately diagnose asthma or other chronic lung conditions.
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