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Difference between ECG and ECHO

By Dr. Viveka Kumar in Cardiac Sciences

Mar 30 , 2022 | 4 min read

1

ECG and ECHO are medical tests that are non-invasive and painless in nature. These two tests serve the purpose of evaluating the present functioning of the heart. One of the unique features associated with these tests is that patients do not need any specific preparation before opting for both of these tests.

Also, there are no recorded risks for patients while taking these tests for further treatment.


ECG/Electrocardiogram: 

One of the most commonly prescribed medical tests recommended to patients with heart-specific or related conditions is an EKG or ECG, also known as an Electrocardiogram.


Types of EKG/ECG

  1. Resting ECG - Monitored while in a comfortable position.

  2. Stress ECG - Monitored while you are running on a treadmill.

  3. Ambulatory ECG - electrodes are connected to a small portable machine worn at the waist to monitor heart conditions for one or more days.


Why is an ECG needed?

The medical specialist will suggest the patient undergo ECG in one of the following cases: 

  1. Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm)
  2. Coronary artery disease (blocked arteries in the heart) leads to chest pain or heart attack.
  3. Previous history of heart attack
  4. The functioning of certain devices, such as a pacemaker

Some of the common symptoms that indicate the requirement of an ECG include the following:

  1. Heart palpitations
  2. Rapid pulse
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Chest pain
  5. Dizziness or confusion
  6. Weakness or fatigue
  7. Feeling low energy while exercising

How is ECG done? 

An ECG, EKG, or electrocardiogram is performed with a series of steps. This test takes around 5-10 minutes. In this medical test, the technician uses 10 - 12 small sticky pads in different places located on the patient’s chest wall. The leads from the ECG machine are attached to these sticky pads.

The leads play a key role in transmitting data. This data uses the heart’s electrical activity to produce a tracing that is used to find out the respective patient’s heart health. The ECG is quite impactful when the patient has already specified the heart condition related symptoms to the patient. 


ECHO/Echocardiogram: 

An ECHO uses ultrasound waves to create pictures of your heart's chambers, valves, walls, and blood vessels. Both ECG and ECHO have their own significance in treating patients with heart ailments.


Why is ECHO needed? 

The doctor suggests the patient undergo an Echocardiogram (ECHO) in the following cases:

  1. Presence of a strong heart murmur
  2. Worsening of the patient’s condition with the presence of heart murmur changes
  3. Presence of symptoms associated with heart valve diseases, including unusual tiredness, fever, chest pain, dizziness, fainting, irregular heartbeat, and swelling in the legs, feet, ankles, or abdomen.

How is ECHO done? 

An ECHO or echocardiogram is performed with a few simple steps, which is performed under the expertise of an experienced cardiac sonographer. This complete test takes around 20 minutes. This includes a preparation time of 5 minutes and a procedure time of 15 minutes.

First, the patient is asked to wear a specific gown and lie on a table that is designed to help patients with the electrocardiogram. The patient is asked to lie on their left side for this medical test. This is followed by the ultrasound gel application on the specific areas of the chest wall. Then the cardiac sonographer or technician places the ultrasound probe, and the required pictures are taken for further investigation.


What is the Difference Between ECG and ECHO?

ECG

ECHO

To detect

Arrhythmias and coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and Cardiomyopathy.


Problems in the pericardium, problems with the large blood vessels in the heart. Blood clots inside the heart. It Checks abnormal holes inside the heart.

Technique

ECG records the heart's electrical activity by attaching painless electrodes.

Create images of the beating heart by use of ultrasound.

Uses

Records the heart's electrical activity, that is heart rate, rhythm, etc.

Provides information regarding the heart’s size, shape, pumping capacity, location and extent of tissue damage, internal heart chambers, and valves' functioning.


Thus, the precise difference between ECG and ECHO is that ECG showcases the heart’s electrical system, whereas ECHO showcases the heart’s mechanical system for further investigation and planning of the respective patient’s treatment. If you are searching for expert guidance for your heart health, then consult one of the best cardiologists in the city to receive the best quality guidance required treatment followed by quality post-treatment care.


Conclusion

As a result, the critical distinction between an ECG and an ECHO is that an ECG shows off the heart's electrical system. In contrast, an ECHO shows off the heart's mechanical system for future research and treatment planning.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is ECG necessary if the echo is normal?

    ECG may or may not be necessary, depending upon the doctor's conclusion.

  2. Can an echo detect heart blockage?

    Any obstructions in the heart's arteries cannot be detected by echocardiography.

  3. What is the best test for heart blockage?

    Best heart blockage can be seen through a CT scan.

  4. What are the symptoms of a blocked artery?

    Chest pain, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, weakness or dizziness, and nausea are the symptoms of a blocked artery.

  5. What vitamin removes plaque from arteries?

    Vitamin B3 helps removes plaque from arteries.

  6. Can an echo detect angina?

    An echo cannot detect angina, but an electrocardiogram can detect it.


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