Cambridge Cardiac Care Centre


Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

Many names for one, simple test.

The Electrocardiogram, commonly referred to as the ECG or EKG, is a simple, painless test that measures the natural electrical activity of your heart at rest. The test is conducted with the patient lying comfortably on their back with lead wires attached to specific areas of the chest and torso. As the natural electrical impulse of your heart spreads through its chambers, it causes muscle fibres to contract creating the pumping action. The lead wires of the ECG pick up the electrical signal at various points along the way. This is valuable information that can help us decipher an irregular heartbeat, if you have had a heart attack, if one is developing or if there are signs of heart failure. A standard ECG only records continuous electrical problems. To investigate heart rhythm issues that occur only some of the time, including during sleep, a patient may need a Holter Monitor test in addition to the ECG.

IMPORTANT! Instructions BEFORE your appointment

In the interest of your appointment going smoothly and ensuring that the ECG leads maintain proper contact and for deciphering the most accurate results possible, please strictly follow the instructions outlined below.

  1. Avoid applying lotions to chest, back and abdomen before your appointment.
  2. Wear loose, comfortable pants allowing access to the bottom part of your legs. You will be given a gown for change into for the top.
  3. Refrain from consuming caffeinated and decaffeinated products for 4-hours prior to the appointment. This includes decaffeinated products such as tea, chocolate and soda pop beverages.

Our Cardiovascular Technologist Team

Our highly trained CVT team is made up of some of the region’s most accomplished Cardiovascular Technologists, skilled in ECG, holter monitoring, stress testing, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and spectrometry testing. With an emphasis on skill-building and a commitment to the pursuit of scientific excellence, our Cardiovascular Technologists (CVT) are the eyes and ears of the clinic, providing thorough and reliable clinical reports that are the underpinning of everything we do.

What to expect during your ECG test

Once you have been called to the exam room, the technologist will explain the procedure and give you a consent form to sign. They will provide you with a gown to change into while they step out momentarily to give you as much modesty and privacy as possible during the test. Upon their return, they will ask you to sit up on the exam table, giving the technologist access to areas of skin where the electrodes will need to be placed: on the chest/torso and possibly the lower leg. The electrodes adhere to your skin like little stickers and should not cause any discomfort. The technologist will attach the wired leads to the sticker electrodes and will take some readings on their computer screen. Before you know it you will be on your way home. Of course, should you have any questions, at any time, please ask your technologist. They are very knowledgeable and they are there to help. They cannot, however, provide any results about the test, as per Ontario law. Your healthcare provider will discuss the results with you directly once they have received the cardiologist’s report.

Will the ECG affect my heartbeat or rhythm?

No. The electrocardiogram is harmless, pain-free, and produces no side effects. In fact, it is the most common cardiac test; usually conducted as a first-line of investigation. The ECG does not send any impulse to your heart or emit any radiation. Rather its job is to simply record and create a visual graph of the electrical impulse that your heart itself generates. The ECG is a detection and recording device only.

Is this test covered by OHIP?

Yes. OHIP covers your ECG test, even if it is a repeat from another facility. The ECG is a very basic diagnostic tool; as such, it may be repeated for various areas of investigation at no cost or harm to the patient.

Wait Times

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Cardiac Test Routine Test Wait Time Urgent Test Wait Time
ABPM 2 weeks Same day
ECG 24 hours Same day
Echocardiogram 2 weeks 36 hours
Stress Test (Exercise / Treadmill) 2 weeks Same day
Stress Echocardiogram 2 weeks 24 hours
Holter Monitor - 24 Hour 2 weeks 24 hours
Holter Monitor - 48 Hour 2 weeks 24 hours
Holter Monitor – 72 Hour 2 weeks 48 hours
Holter Monitor - 2 Weeks 2 weeks 48 hours
Spirometry 24 hours Same day

The above wait-times indicate the standard benchmarks that Cambridge Cardiac Care strives to meet each and every day. Unforeseen circumstances and Public Health mandates, may effect these wait times. Rest assured that timely access is a driving force at CCC: we will get you in as soon as possible, based on your assessed level of urgency.