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Signal Average Electrocardiogram (ECG)

Definition
A signal average ECG, or "Late Potential Detector" is a microprocessor based electrocardiogram (ECG). This type of ECG provides the cardiologist with knowledge about the potential to have a life threatening heart rhythm. It gives the CCND doctor different information than a 12 lead ECG.

Purpose
This is a good screening test for detecting patients prone to sustained ventricular tachycardia. ( a potential life threatening heart beat). If the test does show the potential to have this rhythm, then a more aggressive cardiac evaluation is warranted. The test itself only takes about 5 minutes.

Before The Test
There are no dietary restrictions.
Wear a loose fitting blouse or shirt, with the buttons in the
front. Do not wear a one piece jumpsuit.
Do not use lotions or bath oil on your skin. This will
prevent the electrodes (sticky patches) from sticking to
your skin.

During The Test
A trained medical assistant (or nurse) will place six
electrodes (small sticky patches) on your chest, and one
electrode on your back. The areas on your chest and
back will be cleansed with alcohol and an abrasive pad
will be used to ensure good electrode contact. Men may
need to have areas of their chest shaved.
The electrodes are connected by wires to the signal
average ECG machine.
You will be lying on your back on an exam table. Once
the test has started, you will be asked to lie very still on
the table, while the machine is collecting data for the 3
channel ECG.
The machine will then produce a 3 channel ECG for the
CCND doctor to interpret.

After The Test
Immediately after the test, the physician can give you a
complete interpretation. The presence of a "late potential"
has been associated with the potential to have an
abnormal heart rhythm.
If the test is abnormal, your doctor may order additional
tests.

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