Akron Children's provides primary, critical and specialized care to the patients who come to us, as well as those our Home Care Group treats at home. We help families focus on their sick children with a support staff to deal with the practical details of a hospital stay. Beyond our walls, we help children reach their full potential with more than 100 advocacy, outreach and education programs. More...
From Beachwood to Dover, Norwalk to western Pennsylvania, and just about everywhere in between, Akron Children's growing healthcare system has a full range of pediatric specialists, primary care providers, hospitals and regional care centers right in your own community or within easy driving distance. More...
The Rebecca D. Considine Research Institute is the hub for research and innovation activity at Akron Children's Hospital. The institute facilitates sponsored clinical studies as well as internal investigator-initiated research programs across a spectrum of research subjects. The institute also offers research-oriented educational opportunities for fellows, students and faculty from around the globe.
Ranked a Best Children's Hospital, Akron Children's is the largest pediatric healthcare provider in northeast Ohio. Whether a child needs a few stitches or treatment for a serious illness, we offer the highest quality of care, using the latest techniques and technology, as well as a caring touch. Our philosophy of child- and family-centered care guides everything we do. More...
An electrocardiogram (ECG) measures the heart's electrical activity to help evaluate its function and identify any problems that might exist. The ECG can help determine the rate and regularity of heartbeats, the size and position of the heart's chambers, and whether there is any damage present.
How Is an ECG Done?
There is nothing painful about getting an ECG. The patient is asked to lie down, and a series of small metal tabs (called electrodes) are fixed to the skin with sticky papers. These electrodes are placed in a standard pattern on the shoulders, the chest, the wrists, and the ankles. After the electrodes are in place, the person is asked to hold still and, perhaps, to hold his or her breath briefly while the heartbeats are recorded for a short period. The patient also might be asked to get up and exercise for a while.
The information is interpreted by a machine and drawn as a graph. The graph consists of multiple waves, which reflect the activity of the heart. The height, length, and frequency of the waves are read in the following way:
The number of waves per minute on the graph is the heart rate.
The distances between these waves is the heart rhythm.
The shapes of the waves show how well the heart's electrical impulses are working, the size of the heart, and how well the individual components of the heart are working together.
The consistency of the waves provides relatively specific information about any heart damage present.
A person's heartbeat should be consistent and even. ECGs look for abnormally slow and fast heart rates, abnormal rhythm patterns, conduction blocks (short-circuits of the heart's electrical impulses that cause rhythm inconsistencies between the upper and lower chambers) — and four types of heart damage:
ventricular hypertrophy — an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle
ischemia — caused by an abnormally decreased blood supply
cardiomyopathies — abnormalities in the heart muscle itself
electrolyte and drug disturbances — these can alter the heart's electrochemical environment
Computerized ECGs can be combined with other tests to provide a multimedia account of the heart. These additional tests include echocardiograms (which are basically "ultrasound" tests that bounce sound off the heart and use the echoes to produce an image) and thallium scans (which are kind of like X-rays and use a radioactive tracer, injected into the bloodstream, to help draw a picture of the heart).
In the past, the ECG was recorded on a machine that drew on long strips of paper, with records from each electrode presented in a standard sequence. Now the ECG tracings are stored as computer files that can be called up and printed.
How Long Will it Take to Get Results?
Results of the ECG are available immediately. In fact, the ECG machine's computer even provides an instant interpretation of the findings as it makes the report. However, the doctor also might ask an expert, usually a cardiologist, to help analyze and interpret the ECG.
Reference ranges for heart rate and the relative lengths and sizes of the various components of the heartbeat figures vary, and diagnostic differences may be subtle, requiring an expert eye to detect them.
Ranked a Best Children's Hospital by US News & World Report, Akron Children's is the largest pediatric provider in northeast Ohio. With two pediatric hospitals, and 20 primary care and 67 pediatric specialty locations, we handle more than 600,000 patient visits a year. We also serve as a major teaching affiliate of Northeast Ohio Medical University, and offer a number of pediatric subspecialty fellowship programs. We are committed to providing quality, family-centered care, and improving the treatment of childhood illness and injury through research. More about Akron Children's...