What is a signal-averaged electrocardiogram (SAEKG)?

Like other specialized electrocardiogram (EKG) tests (a visual record of the electrical impulses through the heart), a signal-averaged electrocardiogram (SAEKG) can provide more detailed information about your heart rate and rhythm. An SAEKG uses a computer to strengthen and filter certain electrical signals. This helps your healthcare providers assess whether you're at risk for developing dangerous heart rhythms. The SAEKG is safe and completely painless.

An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is one of the simplest and fastest procedures used to evaluate the heart. Electrodes (small, plastic patches) are placed at certain locations on the chest, arms, and legs. When the electrodes are connected to an ECG machine by lead wires, the electrical activity of the heart is measured, interpreted, and printed out for the physician's information and further interpretation.

A signal-averaged electrocardiogram (SAECG) is a more detailed type of ECG. During this procedure, multiple ECG tracings are obtained over a period of approximately 20 minutes in order to capture abnormal heartbeats which may occur only intermittently. A computer captures all the electrical signals from the heart and averages them to provide the physician more detail regarding how the heart's electrical conduction system is working.

Signal-averaged ECG is one of several procedures used to assess the potential for dysrhythmias/arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms) in certain medical situations.

Performed for 15 to 20 minutes, information obtained from this test is processed by a computer to permit detection of cardiac abnormalities that might not be detected by standard ECG. Signal-averaged ECG is used when arrhythmia is suspected but not seen on a resting ECG, since arrhythmias may be transient in nature and not seen during the short recording time of the resting ECG.

A signal-averaged electrocardiogram (SAEKG) averages the electrical signals coming from the EKG to tell us more accurate information about the heart.

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