RisksBy Mayo Clinic staff
An electrocardiogram is a safe procedure. There may be minor discomfort, similar to removing a bandage, when the electrodes taped to your chest to measure your heart's electrical signals are removed. Rarely, a reaction to the electrodes may cause redness or swelling of the skin.
A stress test, in which an ECG is performed while you exercise or after you take medication that mimics effects of exercise, may cause irregular heartbeats or, rarely, a heart attack. These side effects are caused by the exercise or medication, not the ECG itself.
There isn't any risk of electrocution during an electrocardiogram. The electrodes placed on your body only record the electrical activity of your heart. They don't emit electricity.
- Electrocardiogram. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ekg/. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Podrid PJ. Ambulatory monitoring in the assessment of cardiac arrhythmias. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Stress testing. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/stress/. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.