What Does an EKG Technician Do?
As an Electrocardiograph (EKG) Technician, you can play a key role in the discovery, diagnoses, and treatment of heart disease in patients. Through the use of sophisticated medical equipment, you perform diagnostic tests that help doctors detect irregularities in the heart. Then, they can prescribe treatments that can potentially save thousands of lives, but it starts with your work in the exam room.
EKG Technicians Perform Electrocardiograms
When a doctor suspects that a patient may have a heart issue, they order an electrocardiogram, or EKG. This test records the heart’s electrical activity, and provides important information including the size and thickness of the heart’s chambers, rate and rhythm of the heartbeat, and the nerve conduction pathways. With an EKG, doctors can determine whether a patient has suffered a heart attack or stroke, has blocked blood vessels or arrhythmia, or is at risk of heart failure.
As an EKG Tech, you perform these important tests. You see many patients in a day and need to treat them all as the individuals they are. For some, an EKG may be fairly routine, but for others the procedure can be a bit scary. It’s up to you to explain what you’re doing, make them feel calm, and assure them that they’re in competent hands. Have them lie down on the exam table. They may need to unbutton or remove any clothing that could interfere with the electrodes, which measure electrical activity and send the signal to a computer. Properly place the electrodes on the patient’s chest, begin the test, and monitor the printout to ensure its quality. Once you have the data you need, you remove the electrodes, complete your interaction with the patient, and provide a summary of the results to the physician who can then diagnose the patient.
EKG Technicians Conduct Alternative Heart Tests
Another type of EKG exam, known as a stress test, checks a patient’s heart activity while in motion. You conduct this exam while the patient is on a treadmill or recumbent bike. Or, if the doctor wants to record a patient’s heart activity over a longer period of time, you may need to fit the patient with a Holter monitor. This small device fits around the patient’s neck or on a belt and is attached to electrodes that you place on the patient’s chest. It’s designed to be portable so it can monitor daily activities over a period of 24 hours or more while the patient is away from the doctor’s office.
Additional EKG Technician Duties
In addition to EKG testing, you may need to:
- Check for Quality Printouts—An important skill for any EKG Tech is the ability to recognize normal and abnormal printouts. If the coverage wasn’t adequate or if the printout doesn’t properly show the electrical signals, you may need to run the test again.
- Update Medical Records—At the start of the visit, you confirm the patient’s medical history and make updates. After the exam, you enter the results of the EKG into their medical record.
- Maintain the Equipment—As an EKG Technician, you are responsible for the equipment you use. You must clean and maintain the EKG machines and report any issues you detect in their day-to-day usage.
Are you interested in a healthcare career? As an EKG Technician, you could build a new career while making a difference in the lives of others. Charter Career Academy’s EKG Technician program can train you for entry-level work in the field in as few as 10 weeks. Fill out the form below to learn more.