Alternative Names: Electrocardiogram; EKG; ECG
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart.
An ECG is used to measure the rate and regularity of heartbeats as well as the size and position of the chambers, the presence of any damage to the heart, and the effects of drugs or devices used to regulate the heart.
How the test is performed?
You are asked to lie down, and electrodes are affixed to each arm and leg and to your chest. This requires cleaning the site and, if necessary, shaving or clipping hair. The standard number of leads attached is 12 to 15 for a diagnostic ECG but may be as few as 3 to 5 for a monitoring procedure.
You are usually required to remain still, and you may be asked to hold your breath for short periods during the procedure. Sometimes this test is performed while you are exercising or under minimal stress to monitor changes in the heart. This type of ECG is often called a stress test.
The results are recorded on graph paper.
Why is an ECG performed?
An ECG is very useful in determining whether a person has heart disease. If a person has chest pain or palpitations, an ECG is helpful in determining if the heart is beating normally. If a person is on medications that may affect the heart or if the patient is on a pacemaker, an ECG can readily determine the immediate effects of changes in activity or medication levels. There are many factors that can affect the functioning of the heart and this is one step in evaluating possible cardiac symptoms.
We offer the convenience of in-office exercise stress testing for appropriate patients. Each individual needs to be evaluated by his or her physician to determine if testing is necessary. Symptoms or conditions that may prompt stress testing include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest or abdominal discomfort
- Fatigue or lack of stamina
- Family history of heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Sleeping disorders
A person taking the test
- is hooked up to equipment to monitor the heart.
- walks slowly in place on a treadmill (or pedals slowly on a stationary bike). Then the speed is increased for a faster pace and the treadmill (or bike) is tilted to produce the effect of going up a small hill.
- may be asked to breathe into a tube for a couple of minutes.
- can stop the test at any time if needed.
- afterwards will sit or lie down to have his or her heart and blood pressure checked.
In partnership with Clinical Pathology Labs (CPL), Cedar Park Pediatric & Family Medicine has a full-time CPL phlebotomist in the clinic, offering several benefits for patients:
- Almost any blood work/labs can be drawn in our office.
- Labs for our patients can be drawn in our office even when a patient is not due for an office visit.
- Most insurances are contracted with CPL.
- Less chance for error and delay.
- Less chance for billing errors.
Because of the quality of their services, we have utilized CPL for the majority of our patients' lab work since the day our clinic opened. The recent arrangement with CPL demonstrates our combined effort to provide patients quality service and convenience.
For more information about CPL, please see their website, http://www.cpllabs.com/
To avoid delaying patient care and long waits, we do require a lab appointment to be set for lab draws. There is no copay associated with lab draws, CPL will bill your insurance company with the information that you provide us at the time of your visit. For some insurance plans, Cedar Park Pediatric & Family Medicine is required to bill for some in-house lab work. If you are unsure of your coverage, please discuss it with our billing department.
We are equipped and staffed to do some minor surgeries in the office including:
- Skin biopsies
- Minor laceration repairs
- Incision and Drainage of Abscesses
- Ingrown toenail removal
Do I Need a Physical?
The focus of an Annual Physical Exam is wellness and prevention. This includes health screening discussion, risk review, diet and exercise counseling, general health counseling, comprehensive physical exam, appropriate screening labs, and vaccination review and update. Your age, general health, and risk factors are utilized to determine appropriate additional evaluations. If you have specific chronic or acute illness that needs to be managed in addition to the annual exam, in some cases, a separate visit may be required or include an additional charge.
Why do you need a wellness exam?
There are many diseases that have little or no symptoms. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even diabetes can begin years before any symptoms develop. A complete physical exam along with some simple blood tests can help to catch these and other diseases before they cause problems. A yearly physical is also a good time to sit down and discuss other issues that pertain to your overall health, including a healthy diet and daily exercise. No matter how healthy you may feel, a visit to your doctor once a year for “maintenance” is always a good idea.
It is important that you pay attention to requirements of your insurance company and/or school/sport/job.
A few important notes:
- Many insurance companies will pay for one full physical (preventive) exam for adults and adolescents per year. If you schedule before 12 months have passed, your insurance will not pay.
- Standard child well visits for younger children may occur at an interval less than yearly. Please see the "Wellness and Prevention" section under the Pediatrics tab in our website.
- School sports, band, other athletic events, and Boy Scouts typically require a yearly exam. Please note the date that the exam MUST be completed by and the EARLIEST date that the exam can be completed. Waiting until late summer makes it difficult to meet school deadlines.
- Please bring any required forms with you for your physical. Common forms include work clearance, UIL Athletic, Boy Scout forms, etc. Prior to your visit, complete all sections that you are required to complete.
Our scheduling system is a modified open access design. What this means to patients is that you can get an appointment when you need it, today or in the future. At the beginning of each day, there are always many available visits for that day. If you call first thing in the morning and want to be seen on the same day, we will make you an appointment for that day. The later you call, the more likely those visits will not be available. If you call after all of the same day appointments are taken, then our triage nurse will assist in determining if you need to be seen urgently that day. We still have the capability of working in urgent cases. Our system allows for a great deal of flexibility in an effort to accommodate you.
Our goal is to get you in with your doctor as soon as you want or need.
Please keep in mind that if you are calling to ask if you should schedule an appointment, then the answer is usually yes! Trust your judgment. You wouldn't call if there was not a significant problem or concern. If you leave a message for the nurse to ask about coming in, it will delay getting you the appointment that you need.
We offer the convenience of in-office lung function testing (spirometry) for patients with breathing difficulty or specific diseases. Some indications of the need for spirometry include:
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent cough
Spirometry is performed under various conditions with the patient breathing into a tube attached to the machine, which calculates the amount of air the lungs can hold and the rate that air can be inhaled and exhaled. The results of the test are compared with those of healthy individuals of similar height and age, and of the same sex and race.
We offer the full range of vaccinations necessary for healthy child growth. Please visit the Vaccinations section of our Pediatric Resources.