An EKG technician may also be known as an EKG tech, electrocardiograph technician, cardiographic technician or ECG technician. EKG technicians are members of the health care team who specialize in electrocardiography, or EKG, stress testing, and perform Holter monitor procedures. Technicians trace the electrical impulses transmitted by the heart with an EKG machine, typically before most kinds of surgery or as part of a routine physical examination.
Here are some more details of an EKG job description. Primary among the tasks of EKG technician job duties is to administer electrocardiographs. An electrocardiogram (often abbreviated EKG or ECG) measures the electrical activity of the heart and can be used to diagnose a range of heart diseases. The process of taking an ECG involves attaching a series of electrodes to the patient's chest and limbs, and printing a recording on the ECG machine for interpretation by a physician. It takes approximately 5 minutes to record a diagnostic ECG.
Another aspect of an EKG technician job description is Holter monitoring. Holter monitoring and stress testing are procedures reserved for EKG technicians with advanced training. A Holter monitor is a portable device for monitoring heart activity. EKG technicians place electrodes on the patient's chest and attach a portable EKG monitor to the patient's belt. Following 24 or more hours of normal activity by the patient, the technician removes a tape from the monitor and places it in a scanner, and prints the information from the tape for analysis by a physician.
An EKG technician job description also often includes administering a treadmill test. For a treadmill stress test, EKG technicians document the patient's medical history, explain the procedure, connect the patient to an EKG monitor, and obtain a baseline reading and resting blood pressure. Next, they monitor the heart's performance while the patient is walking on a treadmill, gradually increasing the treadmill's speed to observe the effect of increased exertion.
Other EKG technician duties may include:
- explaining testing procedures to patients to obtain cooperation and reduce anxiety
- obtaining and recording patient identification, medical history, or test results
- monitoring patients' comfort and safety during tests, alerting physicians to abnormalities or changes in patient responses
EKG technicians typically are employed in hospitals, cardiologists offices or in medical and diagnostic laboratories. They generally work a 5-day, 40-hour week that may include weekends.