Mobile Phone Records ECG
Wow!. Using a special device that slips over my mobile phone, and then placing the phone on a pet's chest, it records an ECG.
Not only that, it saves the recording automatically in my Google account as a document which I can analyse.
So what is an ECG?
An ECG is a recording of the tiny electrical circuit that goes through a heart causing the heart muscles to contract in an orderly manner. There are 4 chambers in a heart. When you listen to a heart, you hear a "lub-dub" for each beat.
- The "lub" part is the small chambers (atria) at the top of the heart contracting - this is the "P" part of an ECG (see diagram below)
- The "dub" part is the 2 larger chambers (ventricles) below contracting a split second later -this is the "QRS" part of an ECG (see diagram below)
The tiny electrical impulse that makes the heart muscles contract comes from the heart's very own electrical pacemaker- how clever nature is!
What can an ECG tell you?
Looking at the height and width of the P and QRS parts of an ECG gives a rough guide as to which parts of a diseased heart are enlarged. Measuring the time intervals between the P and QRS (i.e. how far apart they are) can pick up certian heart conditions (e.g. heart block).
But the most important thing ECG's are used for in animals is to detect abnormal heart beats and/or irregular rhythms (e.g atrial fibrillation and Boxer cardiomyopathy ). Extra abnormal heartbeats can be a result of damaged heart muscle and can cause collapsing, feinting, and even sudden death.
Doing an ECG shows us which type of extra beats or abnormal rhythms exist in a diseased heart. This in turn guides us in deciding on the best medicine to prevent them.