Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG)

Learn more about getting an electrocardiogram including how to prepare for it and what to expect.


An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) measures the electrical activity in your heart. Health care providers can determine if the electrical activity is normal or may identify a heart problem. If you are experiencing arrhythmia, chest pain, or palpitations, you may be prescribed an ECG. ECG results can identify many different types of heart conditions.

A Registered Cardiology Technologist or an ECG Assistant will conduct these tests.

Preparing for the test

An ECG is a non-invasive procedure, which means that nothing is injected into the body and it’s painless.

Before you come:

  • Have a bath or shower the morning of the test
  • Do not put any lotion or powder on your skin
  • Wear a loose-fitting blouse or shirt that buttons down the front
  • Women should wear a regular or stretchy bra. They should not wear tight-fitting sports bras, long-line bras, or full slips.
  • Please bring photo identification and your BC Services Card

The test takes 10 or 15 minutes, but please allow one hour in total, for registration and getting changed.

During the test

Your care team will attach sticky patches (electrodes) to your legs, arms and chest. These electrodes connect to a machine. The machine records the electrical signals that create heart rhythms. Before attaching the patches, we will clean your skin, if necessary, shave or clip the hair so they stick well.

After the test

A cardiologist will review the recordings and send a report to your doctor.

Support for Indigenous Peoples

The Indigenous Wellness Liaison Team is here to support your health journey. Team members offer cultural support and healthcare advocacy. Learn more below or call them at 604-682-2344,62937 or email IWL@providencehealth.bc.ca.

  • Indigenous wellness services

    The Indigenous Wellness Team at Providence is available to support Indigenous patients and their families. We are here to coordinate culturally safe wellness supports and services.

Education & resources


Cardiology Department
Room 2450, Providence Wing,  St. Paul’s Hospital

Follow the red line on the floor from the Burrard main entrance all the way to the end.

Transportation & parking

Remember to allow time before your ECG to get from your car or transit to the test area in the Cardiology Department. When you arrive at St. Paul’s Hospital, enter through the main doors off Burrard Street. If you are not sure where to go, ask a volunteer or the Information Desk for directions to the Cardiology Department. Tell them you’re here for an ECG.


Monday to Friday
8:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m.

Medical & professional referrals