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Cardiac Test Basics

Published: July 29, 2010

Q: Please explain the difference between an electrocardiogram and an echocardiogram. What exactly do these tests tell doctors about the heart?

A: An electrocardiogram (ECG) records the heart’s electrical activity (heartbeat) while the echocardiogram records the mechanical or muscular activity (heart contraction). The ECG tells doctors about electrical problems that can cause arrhythmias while the echo diagnoses abnormal contractions that can cause heart failure.

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