Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

  • Douglas CarrollEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_452-2




The electrocardiogram (EKG) is the noninvasive record of the electrical activity of the heart muscle, as reflected in tiny electrical changes on the skin, during the heart’s active (systole) and passive (diastole) phases (Hampton 2008). The EKG can be recorded easily from two electrodes placed on either side of the heart, for example, on the chest or on the left and right arms. For clinical and diagnostic purposes, however, it is usual to attach an array of 12 electrodes at various bodily sites so that the EKG can be recorded from different orientations. The characteristic wave form (see Fig. 1) that identifies the heart’s active phase, i.e., when it beats and pumps blood into the systemic circulation, was first described in 1903 by Willem Einthoven, in Leiden in the Netherlands, although electrical records of heart beats had been made as early as 1872. In 1924, Einthoven was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his research in EKG. The first wave in the...
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References and Further Reading

  1. Hampton, J. R. (2008). The ECG made easy (7th ed.). London: Churchill Livingstone.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sport and Exercise SciencesUniversity of BirminghamEdgbaston, BirminghamUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna C. Whittaker
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK