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This tests the electrical activity of your heart, and it’s used to check how well it’s working. For young people with cancer, the most common reason for having it is to make sure that your heart is working normally before treatment starts.
An ECG can also be used to see if treatment has caused any changes to your heart, by comparing ECGs before and after treatment.
You can eat and drink normally before the test, and it can be done as an outpatient. You’ll need to undress to the waist and put on a gown that opens at the front. The technician will then stick about 12 discs onto your chest area. They’ll be all over your chest and feel cold when they’re put on. Then some wires will be connected to the discs. These wires are linked to a machine that records the heart's electrical activity.
The test is painless and if you have it as an outpatient, you can go home afterwards. The results should be ready in a few days.
Content last reviewed: 1 November 2011
Next planned review: 2013
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