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ECG Machine Buyer's Guide: How to choose the best ECG machine for your practice or hospital?

Posted by Yogesh Nadar on

WHAT IS AN ECG MACHINE?

An ECG or EKG machine is a piece of medical equipment that tracks, measures and records the electrical activity of the heart and displays it electronically or prints it on paper. It’s quite a common and painless test which helps in the detection of any heart-related diseases and monitors the heart's health in general.

HOW DOES AN ECG MACHINE WORK?

Electrodes or sensors are sticky patches with wires connected to a monitor. They are attached to different parts of the body and the machine records the strength and the timing of the electrical signals that move through the heart. This information is then displayed in the form of waves or graphs on the monitor or paper.

WHAT IS AN ECG MACHINE USED FOR?

An ECG machine can help detect:

  • Accelerated idioventricular rhythm
  • Arrhythmias
  • Tachycardia
  • Accelerated junctional rhythm
  • Coronary heart diseases
  • Bundle branch block
  • Heart attacks
  • Asystole (heart failure)
  • Atrial flutter
  • Bradycardia
  • Sinus dysfunction
  • Ventricular or atrial fibrillation
  • A pacemaker malfunction
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome

It can be used to investigate symptoms of possible heart diseases, such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Weak blood flow to the heart muscle
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or confusion
  • Heart palpitations
  • Rapid pulse
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Structural problems with the heart's chambers

It can also detect non-heart conditions such as electrolyte imbalances and lung diseases.

TYPES OF ECG MACHINES

Resting ECG

In this type of ECG, the patient needs to be lying down in a comfortable position. While using this machine, any movement of the patient is prohibited since the electrical signals produced by other muscles might mix with the ones produced by the heart. This is a very simple, quick and non-invasive test to keep a check on your cardiac health.

Ambulatory ECG

These machines are used to monitor your heart while you’re performing your normal activities. It is used for people whose symptoms happen intermittently. In this type of machine, the portable device is fastened at the patient’s waist for one or more days. It is also called a Holter monitor.

Stress/ Exercise ECG

This machine is used when the patient is exercising like walking on a treadmill to check how the heart works during physical activity. Since exercising makes the heart work significantly harder and faster, the test can reveal problems with the blood flow.

KEY FEATURES TO LOOK FOR AND QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE BUYING AN ECG MACHINE

  • The ECG machine you will choose will depend on the symptoms and suspected heart problems. Therefore, it's important to know the key objective to decide on the number of electrodes or the type of machine to buy etc.
  • Check whether the ECG machine is multi-channel or if it acquires all the standard 12 leads simultaneously. Ideally, the machine should be able to print at least 3 leads of the ECG waveform continuously with manually switching between leads. The Contec ECG machine is a great option since it provides 3 channels of simultaneous ECG data.
  • You can choose the most suitable screen size depending on whether you prioritise compactness or visibility convenience.
  • Make sure the internal storage of the machine allows it to store ECG waveforms for retrieval, transmission or printing at a later time.
  • Does it come with a printer? If yes, are both graph sheets and plain sheets available? What is the printing speed? Ordinarily, it should provide sensitivity settings of at least 2.5, 5, 10, and 20mm/mV and recorders with a typical chart speed of 5, 10, 25, and 50 mm/sec. For example, the BPL ECG machine has a paper transport speed of 25 or 50 mm / sec and it also comes with an ECG paper roll.
  • It should have an appropriate digital interface to communicate with other devices such as computers, LAN, Hospital Information Management systems, and Wireless connectivity options.
  • The device should be capable of maximum charge in less than 15 seconds. During disconnection of line power, the ECG should have the option of running on battery power, including interpretation and reporting without interruption.
  • Does it have an audio-visual alarm for heart rates, arrhythmia etc?

Read More: ECG Paper Roll Guide 101: Everything You Need To Know

WHERE TO BUY AN ECG MACHINE?

You can buy the best-selling ECG machines and more medical devices from one of the India’s most renowned and trusted online medical equipment store, TenTabs.


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