What are the Different Types of ECG System?

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  • Written By: D. Nelson
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 08 February 2019
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An electrocardiography (ECG) system is used to electrically monitor the rhythm of the heart. It provides a noninvasive reading since it does not break the skin or enter the body. This medical device is most often utilized by patients whose hearts are weak, possibly due to illness, injury, or disease. An ECG system is often used in hospitals when medical professionals need to monitor the strength of a patient's heart. Other kinds of ECG system may be used by individuals without the assistance of a medical professional.

The conventional kind of ECG system is most normally used in hospitals and in other health care settings. This kind of setting requires that the patient wear electrodes on various parts of the body, such as on the arms and legs. Most often, the electrodes are applied in pairs. For example, a patient will wear an electrode on both the left and right arms.

Medical specialists will often use a number of different electrodes since each one will monitor the heart from a different angle. By using many electrodes placed on different parts of the body, the most accurate reading of the heart's rhythm can be recorded. The data from each electrode is referred to as a lead.


Many ECG systems are available for individuals to use without the assistance of a medical professional. These kinds of systems often have wireless capability. This allows the user to attach a device to him or herself and monitor heart rhythms without the use of cords or wires. The reading can be viewed on any kind of computer on which the proper software has been installed. This kind of ECG system may also be able to monitor the user's posture and biological data.

A common ECG system which individuals may use without the guidance of a medical professional is one that is connected to a mobile device, such as an iPhone®. This system is also wireless. Most models require the use of two different electrodes that are placed on the chest. The lead number recorded by each electrode can be read on the screen of the applicable mobile device.

Individuals who need to be frequently monitored by health professionals may find that ECG systems that transmit data directly to medical specialists are helpful. A common ECG system that works in this fashion requires that 12 electrodes are placed on the user's torso. The lead numbers recorded by the electrodes will be sent directly to the computer or mobile device belonging to the health professional. This system allows a patient to be constantly monitored by the medical professional without having to stay in the health care center.


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