Urgent Care Vs. Emergency Care – Going for EKG
Your heart is one of the most vital organs in your body. While it is possible to take measures to keep it healthy, such as maintaining healthy eating habits, and exercising, sometimes, our hearts become sick. Pain in the chest and slow blood flow are some of the indications of a failing heart. When these symptoms occur, it is essential to visit a medical facility for an EKG to check the health of the heart. In this article, Frontline ER provides crucial information every patient should know.
Where Should I Go for an EKG?
Usually, both Urgent Care Centers and Emergency Care Centers provide EKG services. However, Urgent care centers deal with less severe injuries, and may, therefore, lack EKG services. Ensure you confirm with the physicians.
Visiting an Urgent Care for an EKG is easier during the day when the facility is open. This is because Urgent Care Centers usually have less queueing, and therefore provide faster services than ERs. ERs prioritize emergency situations, and if the chest you are experiencing is less severe than another patient’s condition, then you will be forced to wait in line.
An Urgent Care facility is equipped to deal with minor problems before they become severe. For example, if you are experiencing chest pains, you can visit an Urgent Care. However, if the chest pains turn into a heart attack, you will be rushed to an Emergency Center because they are equipped to deal with severe and possibly fatal conditions.
Since Emergency Rooms operate 24/7, patients experiencing chest pains and breathing problems related to heart failure can receive treatment at any time. Urgent Care facilities close down, and are therefore unavailable to patients, especially at night and during the weekends. As a patient or caregiver, it is essential to know the closest ERs and Urgent Care facilities close to you in case of an emergency.
What is an EKG?
An EKG or ECG is an acronym for electrocardiogram. The test is used to show your heart’s electrical activity, and if there is a problem, the EKG will reveal it. The heart has a natural electrical system to allow for contractions and pumping of blood. If the system malfunctions, the heart, and the body become affected by reduced blood flow.
An EKG is used to show the following:
- Your Heart Rhythm
- Ischemia (check if you have weak blood flow to your heart)
- Check for a heart attack
- Check for abnormalities such as thickened heart muscles
What Does an EKG Show?
An EKG reveals two kinds of information. First, it measures the time electrical waves take to pass through the heart. If the waves take too long, move too fast, or pass irregularly, then there is a problem. The second is the measure of electrical activity in the heart. The doctor will observe the results to tell if the heart is being overworked in any way.
What to Expect During an EKG?
The technician will attach ten electrodes to your arms, legs, and chest as you lie flat. A computer will create images of the electrical impulses through your heart on a piece of paper. This is called a resting EKG.
The same procedure may be performed as you run. The doctor will then use each of the graphs for a comparison, and decide if there is a problem with your heart. Sometimes, the doctor may recommend other tests besides the standard EKG test.
For example, the Holter monitor is a portable EKG that allows monitoring of the heart’s electrical activity for one or two days. The doctor may suggest this is he/she suspects that you have abnormal heart rhythm.
Another test is the event monitor that the doctor uses when symptoms happen now and then. With the push of a button, a record of your heart’s electrical activity is recorded. Each time you have symptoms, a record is kept for the doctor to analyze. Lastly is a signal-averaged electrocardiogram is used to check if you are at high risk of developing heart arrhythmia which can lead to cardiac arrest.
How to Prepare for an EKG
- Avoid oily skin, by avoiding lotions because they can prevent electrodes from making contact with your skin.
- Avoid full-length hosiery for placement of electrodes on your legs.
- Wear easily removable clothes, e.g., a t-shirt.
Where to Get an EKG Done?
Frontline ER has centers both in Dallas and Richmond to cater for patients in need of emergency EKGs and heart treatment. Our freestanding ER centers are well equipped and staffed to handle medical emergencies around the clock. Our services are suitable for patients who wish to avoid long queues in hospital ERs.
We also offer more sophisticated services than Urgent Care Centers, that may not be equipped to do so. Our doctors are board certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. This ensures that they are provided with necessary skills to handle heart emergencies. For more information, visit our website and any of our facilities today.