What the hell is ECG anyways?

Your heart is a fabulous dancer.

It moves. It contracts and relaxes to its own rhythm just like the way your feet move to music of the salsa. One, two. One, two. One, two.

dance of the heart

When we measure ECG we measure the music that your heart is moving to. Most music is written down on a fancy sheet of staff. Likely found stored in old libraries, only to be seen again at the next piano concert.

piano staff

The music that your heart is dancing to is written down on a grid. Instead of notes to mark the beats, the writing is done using a wavelike line called waveform. These grid charts are most likely found in hospitals, only to be picked up by the doctor in a state of emergency.

ecg grid

Reading the waveforms is how we can know whether your heart is making the right dance moves. Taking the wrong step in salsa is not that bad, but dancing clumsily will make you look like a fool on the dance floor.

bad dancing

Similarly, when your heart occasionally makes the wrong step and disrupts the rhythm, it ain’t that bad either. But your heart continuously moving to the wrong rhythm is worse than looking foolish, it’s a life-endangering act.

Learning how to read your ECG recordings is like learning to read the music your heart is dancing to, an act of self-literacy.

The first salsa lesson teaches you how to move your feet and avoid making a fool of yourself on the dance floor, a worthwhile investment for sure. The first ECG recording and interpretation is even more worthwhile. It is a step towards ensuring your heart keeps on dancing the dance of life.

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