An electrocardiogram or ECG is a non-invasive diagnostic test to record the electrical voltage in the heart so as to understand its functioning and regularity of heart beats. The electrocardiogram or EKG can help in diagnosing cardiovascular disease. The ECG is used to check for any damage to the heart and regulate the functioning of the pacemaker.
An electrocardiogram measures the electrical activity within the heart, thereby throwing light on the how the heart muscles function. This test is not painful. An ECG is recommended for patients who complain of regular chest pain or palpitations to check for the normal functioning of the heart. It can help in detecting heart attack or (ischaemia) ischemia. If a patient suffers from hypothermia, pulmonary embolism, mitral stenosis or left ventricular hypertrophy, an EKG can help in diagnosis.
Other non-cardiac problems such as drug overdose or electrolyte imbalance can be diagnosed with an EKG. Abnormal results from an ECG test may be indicative of arrhythmia, myocarditis, impending heart attack or enlarged heart.
Seizures are conditions when there is abnormal functioning of the brain leading to uncontrollable muscle spasms, altered levels of consciousness and behavior. This is usually traced to abnormal electrical discharge within the brain. Seizures may be localized or affect the whole body. Seizures are classified into 3 based on the severity of attack and response:
- Grand Mal - In this type of seizure, the whole body is racked with convulsions. There can be lack of consciousness or coma
- Petit Mal - Only a part of the body is affected by this seizure
- Absence - A type of seizure where the affected person is in a stupor and cannot be roused.
Seizures can occur due to poisoning, drug overdose, head injury or medical conditions such as hypoglycemia or neurological abnormality. Fever, brain tumor or other vascular problems can also trigger a seizure. If the brain experiences a sudden lack of oxygen, it can lead to a seizure. Febrile seizures are usually noticed when an infant or small child has high fever, greater than 102 degrees F. The child loses consciousness and experiences uncontrolled shaking of the body. Typically this seizure lasts for a minute or two. Seizures of this kind are not to be mistaken for epilepsy. Though they can be terrifying, febrile seizure attacks must be tackled with care. Place the child on the ground or safe place. Do not restrain movements and wait for the seizure to subside. Do not attempt to feed the child immediately after a febrile seizure. Most seizures are self-limiting. What is essential is to ensure that the person does not get injured during a seizure. Seek seizure first aid. Call a doctor at once if you notice labored breathing or bluish pallor. Epilepsy is a medical condition that is characterized by marked pattern of chronic seizures. Various tests such as spinal tap, heat CT scan or MRI and EEG (Electroencephalogram) can help in identifying the cause for the seizures.