What is an ECG?

An ECG is a test which evaluates the electrical properties of the heart. It is also known as an electrocardiogram. Your child is asked to lie on an examination couch. Stickers are used to apply several electrodes (usually 10) to the chest, arms and legs. A heart trace records on paper.

Why is an ECG done?

It gives information about the electrical activity of the heart, the heart rhythm and also gives an indication of the sizes of the different heart chambers. The normal limits vary with age and are different for children and adults Parents may become concerned because an ECG has an automatic print out describing problems which may have no relevance to their child as the machines are usually to an adult default. Dr Naqvi is trained in ECG interpretation in children of all ages.

What happens during the test?

The child needs to be undressed above the waist and lie on the couch. Teenage girls should ideally wear a sports bra. They need to be as still as possible. The printout comes out of the machine within a few seconds.

How long does it take?

Usually less than 5 minutes.

Does it hurt?

  • No. The test is painless but some children dislike having the stickers taken off.

DR NAQVI’S TOP TIPS for having a ECG

  • Bring a tablet or mobile phone to help your child stay still.
  • Bring a dummy for your baby if they usually have one.
  • Bring a bottle for your baby.
  • Tell your child to pretend to be still like a statue.
When a Child has an ECG
Prepare a Child for an Electrocardiogram