• +63 (32) 888 2662
    0998 962 1234
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  • +63 (32) 888 2662
    0998 962 1234
  • +63 (32) 888 2662
    0998 962 1234
  • U.N. Avenue Corner DM Cortes Street,
    Mandaue City, Cebu Philippines 6014
  • OPEN 24/7

The First-Timer’s Guide to ECG Tests

Person Wearing Blue and Black StethoscopePhoto courtesy of Karolina Grabowska via Pexels

Is it your first time going through ECG tests? The Hospital at Maayo has got you covered!

Most often than not, scheduling a consultation can be unnerving. Don’t let the process overwhelm you. The team at The Hospital at Maayo offers a much simpler guide as you go through ECG tests.

The Hospital at Maayo is composed of a team of world-class doctors in Cebu who will cater to your medical needs. With certified cardiac and vascular sonographers and cardiologists, you’ll surely have the most convenient and safe medical care experience.

Our cardiovascular health unit in Cebu provides excellent ECG tests with exceptional care. As a medical institution endorsed by the Department of Health and the first medical tourism center outside of Metro Manila, you get to enjoy high-quality medical service in Cebu that meets international standards at a reasonable cost. In this guide, we’ve rounded up all the things you need to know about ECG tests as a first-timer.

Why are ECG tests important?

Electrocardiogram (ECG) tests are done to monitor and evaluate the condition of the heart. ECG tests are important in providing early detection and treatment in order for you to avoid any further complications of the heart that might lead to crucial risks.

If you are experiencing sudden chest pains, dizziness, palpitations, breathing and other heart problems, it’s the best time to visit your local cardiologist. Here are the signs that you should watch out for.

Types of ECG Tests: A beginner’s guide

Before going into the nitty-gritty details, it’s important to understand the different types of normal ECG tests. There are 3 primary types of ECG that you should be familiar with:

  1. A resting ECG – This is the most common ECG machine test that evaluates and measures the electrical rhythm of your heart at rest. Hence, the name. With a resting ECG, you will be advised to lie down and relax for about five minutes.A series of electrodes, placed onto your skin with small sticky pads, will record the electrical activity in your heart throughout this period. This procedure takes about 10 minutes overall and is usually done in a clinic or hospital.
  2. A Stress or Exercise ECG – While pedaling an exercise bike or walking on a treadmill, this test is used to record your ECG, specifically the heart’s response to stress or exercise. It takes roughly 15 to 30 minutes to complete this type of ECG.
  3. A Holter Monitor – This refers to a wearable device that records the rhythm of your heart and its electrical activity for 24 hours. This testing is conducted mostly at home and lasts between three and ten days.

The Hospital at Maayo also offers an implantable loop recorder that is used as a heart monitoring device. As an implanted device, the loop recorder is placed beneath the skin of your chest. It works much as the electrocardiogram does, but the loop recorder enables continuous remote monitoring of your heart’s electrical activity by looking for anomalies that could lead to heart palpitations and more.

The first-timer’s guide to the ECG process for the heart

Depending on your healthcare provider, an executive check-up may include a variety of lab tests and procedures to gain a complete picture of your physical condition. So If you’ve finally decided to go through with certain ECG tests, then this guide best suits you. This section is divided into three parts to further simplify the process for you. It is up to you to have a clear understanding of each phase mentioned herein.


While a standard ECG requires no extra preparation, you can talk to your doctor about any medications or supplements you’re currently taking as these can affect findings on your ECG. Before your ECG test, here are some things to consider:

  • Consider timing
    Timing is important. Before getting started with ECG tests, make sure that you properly gauge the amount of time needed for the test. If you’re getting an ECG as part of a doctor’s appointment, plan on spending an extra 10 minutes on the test to accommodate registration and check-in process.
  • Consider the location, where it will be done
    ECG tests can be conducted in various locations such as the hospital, a clinic, or even at the office of your healthcare provider. Sometimes, an ECG test may also be conducted in the same exam room where you are consulting the doctor. In some cases, your local doctor may have a separate area where you’ll need to go for the ECG test.
    When having your ECG test at The Hospital at Maayo, you get to enjoy the pleasant waiting lounges and clinics, which are housed in a green building and constructed with a hotel-like environment for easing your mind.
  • Be mindful of what you eat and drink before the exam
    Generally, fasting is not required before the test. However, it is still recommended to be mindful of what you eat and drink before taking the ECG test. Just like preparing for any clinical testing, it’s best to gauge the overall condition of your body by getting sufficient nutrients that it needs. If you want to change the way you eat and drink to better prepare for ECG tests, it’s the right time to start with a healthy lifestyle. You can check out this article about promoting nutrition and wellness at home.
  • Gather the items that you need to bring (test order form, ID, insurance card, etc.)
    Before your scheduled ECG test, prepare valid IDs and insurance cards that might be needed to complete the test. Most medical institutions are legally bound to gather information from their patients. The Hospital at Maayo hands out test order forms or identification forms for recording, safety, and security purposes. To avoid any delays, prepare these items early.


Keep in mind that during the ECG tests, the steps may vary depending on the condition of your heart or what your cardiologist prescribes,

  • You will be asked to change into a hospital gown
    In the testing room, you’ll be requested to change clothes and wear a hospital gown to ensure proper testing. The technician will keep your privacy by covering you with a sheet or gown and only exposing the skin that is required for the test. Any jewelry or objects you have with you will also be asked to be removed.
  • Attaching electrodes
    Electrodes (or the plastic patches that stick to the skin) will be attached to certain areas on the arms, chest, and legs. Up to twelve electrodes may be attached to the limbs and chest; this is the standardized placement to record an efficient trace. The wires of the electrodes are connected to the monitor which shows the information for ECG interpretation.
  • Remain still asmovement can disrupt the pattern
    For the test, you will lie flat on a table or bed. It’s critical that you lie still and don’t talk throughout the ECG so that the tracing will be accurate as possible. The technician may enter identifying information about you into the machine’s computer once the leads are attached. The electrocardiogram (ECG) will be started. The tracing will be performed in a short amount of time, usually about a few minutes.


After your ECG tests, you are free to go back to your normal routine, unless your doctor prescribes a different diet for you. Once you are done with the test, your local healthcare provider will explain the results of your ECG test.

  1. Electrodes are removed
    The technician will remove the leads and disconnect the skin electrodes once the tracing is complete. You might notice sticky matter that remains from where the electrodes have been, but the removal of the electrodes is the least of your concern as the electricians at The Hospital at Maayo are trained to provide careful medical attention and quality care.
  2. Wait for the results
    Depending on the condition of your heart, your doctor may discuss the results with you and explain different aspects of the heart diagram. Your results will show:

    • Heart rate – Unless the doctor explains a more definitive interpretation, a normal heart rate at rest is 60 to 100 beats per minute. When there are fluctuations in your heart rate, you can see it on the ECG results.
    • Blood and oxygen supply – An ECG result also shows whether you have a reduced blood flow that might be causing problems in your chest.
    • Heart rhythm – This simply refers to the electrical activity coming from the sinus node.
    • Heart structure – Any change in your heart’s structure (an enlargement of the heart) gives a clear sign of other heart problems or defects.

Keep in mind that while the ECG can be used to provide a definitive diagnosis of some cardiac disorders, such as cardiac arrhythmia or heart surgery, it is most commonly employed as a screening test. As a result, anomalies on the ECG are frequently followed by a more conclusive test in order to provide a definitive diagnosis.

person writing on white paperPhoto courtesy of Towfiqu barhuiya via Unsplash

What’s great about an ECG test is that it is a non-invasive test that doesn’t require any further medications (such as sedatives) or recovery time. After your ECG test, you can go back to your usual activities.

Key takeaways

First-timers and seasoned professionals alike can use this guide to manage expectations when it comes to ECG tests. You’ll be able to properly anticipate anything you need to prepare before, during, and after your ECG test. As takeaways, remember to equip yourself with the proper preparation, pay close attention to your heart, and invest in your health for the long run.

  • Equip yourself with the right mind and preparation. ECG tests need not be complex. Remember that ECG tests are more relevant than ever, especially since the current pandemic continues to loom over. The bottom line is: you can’t afford to face heart issues in the most unfortunate time.
  • Pay close attention to your heart. To have better heart health in the long run, create a healthier approach to your lifestyle and diet. You’ll be surprised how even the smallest change can create the biggest impact.
  • Invest in your health for the long run. This means getting regular check-ups by professionals to ensure that you’re in tiptop shape. Knowing the necessary protocols and incorporating them in your lifestyle can do wonders for the mind and body.

If you’re in Cebu and currently having issues with the condition of your heart, it’s the perfect time to book an appointment with a local cardiologist. For a quick checkup, call us at +63 (32) 888 2662 or 0998 962 1234 or inquire today at The Hospital at Maayo.