Difference Between ECG and Echocardiography

Electrocardiograms (EKG) and echocardiograms (Echo) may sound similar, but they are not the same thing. An electrocardiogram (ECG) examines your heart’s electrical circuitry. An echocardiogram (Echo) examines the mechanical system of the heart. Both the ECG and echocardiography are tests that are used to assess your heart’s general health. There are several distinctions to be made between echocardiography and an electrocardiogram.

ECG vs Echocardiography

The main difference between ECG and Echocardiography is that the former attaches electrodes to detect the results while the latter uses sound waves to detect the condition of the heart. Echocardiography is a moving image ultrasound of the heart that offers information on the anatomy and function of the heart. The ECG is a type of cardiac tracing that primarily offers information about the heart’s rhythm.

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The electrical activity of the heart is recorded by an ECG, which provides useful information about the pace at which the heartbeats, as well as the rhythm and regularity of the pulse. An ECG is a rapid screening tool for arrhythmias, cardiac muscle damage following a heart attack, the status of any implanted device such as a pacemaker, and the detection of some congenital diseases and medication effects. An ECG is also utilized as a part of a normal health checkup and as part of the workup performed before any major operation.

Echocardiography is a technique that creates pictures of the beating heart using sound waves. It employs 2-dimensional, 3-dimensional, and Doppler ultrasound techniques. Transthoracic, transesophageal, and stress echocardiography are all options for echocardiography. The doctor conducts the test by passing a transducer across the chest and connecting it to a monitor that records pictures of the heart. It takes no more than 10-15 minutes to complete the operation.

Comparison Table Between ECG and Echocardiography

Parameters of ComparisonECGEchocardiography
PurposeRecording of the heart’s electrical activity.Creates pictures of the beating heart.
UsesUsed to detect damage of muscles in the heart or arrhythmias.Detect the conditions of hearts.
TechniqueResults are detected by attaching 12 patches to the chest, legs, and arms.Results are detected by using a transducer over the chest area.
Form usedElectrodes are used to detect.Uses sound waves to detect.
Form of resultResults are displayed on paper.The images are shown on a computer.

What is ECG?

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a recording of the electrical activity of the heart. This is accomplished by placing non-painful electrodes on the skin’s surface that can capture this activity. 12 patches are applied to the chest, arms, and legs, and are connected to a machine through cables. This equipment shows the electrical activity on a piece of paper, which may be interpreted.

The treatment takes less than 10 minutes and involves no electric shocks or bodily injury. During the activity, an ECG can be used to search for signs of cardiac stress. An ECG is frequently used in conjunction with other tests to diagnose and monitor cardiac problems.

It can be used to look into symptoms including chest discomfort, palpitations, dizziness, and shortness of breath that could indicate a heart condition. An ECG can be used to diagnose which includes Arrhythmias are heartbeats that are too slow, too fast, or irregular. A build-up of fatty substances blocks or interrupts the heart’s blood flow, resulting in coronary heart disease.

Heart attacks occur when the heart’s blood supply is unexpectedly cut off. Cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart walls thicken or expand. A series of ECGs can also be obtained over time to monitor someone who has been diagnosed with a cardiac problem or who is receiving medications that may affect the heart.

What is Echocardiography?

Echocardiography gives a wealth of information about the heart, including its size, shape, pumping capability, tissue damage location and degree, internal chambers, and valve function. It is mostly used to assess the state of the cardiac muscle following a heart attack. It can identify infection in the sac around the heart as well as infection in the heart valves.

A color Doppler echocardiography can provide a detailed picture of the blood flow in the heart. There are a variety of various echocardiograms that may be performed which are transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) in which a tiny probe is sent down the throat into the gullet and stomach, one may need to fast for several hours before this test.

Stress echocardiography in which an echocardiogram is performed during or shortly after a session of treadmill or exercise bike activity, or after receiving an injection of a medicine that causes the heart to work harder.

Contrast echocardiography in which before an echocardiogram, a harmless chemical called a contrast agent is injected into the circulation, this material shows up clearly on the scan and can assist build a better image of the heart. The sort of echocardiography you’ll have is determined by the heart disease being evaluated and the level of information required in the pictures.

Echocardiography is a painless, quick, and safe treatment. The scan has no negative effects, however, the lubricating gel may feel chilly, and when the electrodes are withdrawn from over the skin after the test, one may feel some little pain.

Main Differences Between ECG and Echocardiography

  1. An ECG is mainly used for the recording of the heart’s electrical activity, whereas echocardiography creates pictures of the beating heart.
  2. An ECG examines a person’s heart rhythm, whereas an echocardiogram examines how the heart’s chambers and valves flow blood through the heart.
  3. In an ECG test, the results are detected by attaching 12 patches to the chest, legs, and arms whereas in an Echocardiography test results are detected by using a transducer over the chest area.
  4. An ECG uses electrodes to seek for abnormalities in the heart’s electrical impulses, whereas an echocardiogram uses ultrasonography to look for anomalies in the heart’s structure.
  5. The results are displayed on a paper after the ECG test whereas, in an echocardiography test, the results are displayed on the monitor during the test.

Conclusion

Electrocardiography and echocardiography are incredibly useful diagnostics for diagnosing a variety of cardiac problems. ECG captures the electrical activity of the heart, whereas echocardiography creates images of the heart using sound waves. An ECG can reveal anomalies in the heartbeat’s rate and rhythm.

Echocardiography provides a great deal more information on the anatomy and function of the heart muscle and its valves. An ECG takes less than 10 minutes, however, echocardiography might take up to an hour depending on the type of cardiac problem. Both of these tests, however, are highly safe and simple to do.

References

  1. https://www.jacc.org/doi/abs/10.1016/j.jcmg.2016.06.011
  2. https://academic.oup.com/eurjpc/article/21/6/774/5925783?login=true
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