How EKG Machines Really Work

The EKG machine, abrievated from the German word "Elektrokardiogramm", is a device that records the activity of the heart over time through the electronic impulses transmitted between heartbeats. It was invented in the late 1800s by an Augustus Waller who was the first person to systemically approach the heart from an electrical standpoint. His very first electrocardiograph machine traced the heart's beats with an electrometer fixed to a projector which then launched the information onto a photographic plate fixed to a toy train. Although transformed into a considerably more advanced medical product with the sophisticated technology available, the principles behind the EKG machine remains the same.

Technically, precisely what happens when an EKG machine performs during an operation or the like? The first thing you have to understand is the map of the heart. The heart is basically a pump that has four chambers. The two upper chambers are called the atria and the two lower chambers are referred to as ventricles. A natural electrical system causes the heart muscle to contract and pump blood throughout the body. The sympathetic electrical impulses in the heart occur in the sinoatrial node located in the right atrium of the heart and is then channeled through to the heart muscle where they cause it to contract. What a piece of medical equipment!

In order to physically be able to measure it, a trained EKG technician must selectively place electrodes--which is an electrical conductor through which a current is passed--directly on the patient's skin. Small pads may be placed between the electrodes and your skin to imrpove conduction of the electrical impulses. The electrical waves of different sides of the heart measure the different parts of the muscle. The EKG reading will reflect the results on a digital graph, which can then be traced onto paper for easier analysis. An accurate EKG reading is assessed through a sequence of three waves arbitrarily named P, QRS, and T. The P wave is a low amplitude wave that marks the impulse of both of the areas of the heart's atria which receive blood from the veins of the body. The higher amplitude QRS complex, which is often spiked due to the increase in conduction velocity, measures the depolarization of the ventricles. Finally, the T wave oppositionally shows the depolarization and renewal of the ventricles.

The next time you are in the doctor's office, getting an electrogram reading, you will know exactly how invaluable of a tool EKG Machines prove to be to not only the doctors measuring your heart but ultimately, your own health.