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what is an ekg artifact?
hello,

greetings everyone.  i recently went to see my endocrinologist/internist.  he does an EKG on me every time i see him.  the last time i saw him, he did one and said afterward, "I see some artifacts but I think it's the hair on your chest".  (I have a very hairy chest and he applied the leads without shaving me or with gel, etc.).  

i am frightened by this.  i don't know what an artifact is.  i look it up online and there is conflicting information.  some sites suggest it's just interference and not a real heart problem.  a couple others suggest it's heart damage that's already taken place. can anyone clarify this?  do i need to see a cardiologist?  

THANKS

mfk14
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An EKG is an electrical signal. Many things affect an EKG. If the leads are not in proper electrical contact the readings may not be correct. That is why the hair should be shaved where the pasties go on. Usually this means the strip may read normally...then for a while it shows jiggling...(when the pasties loosen) and then goes back to a normal rhythym. Artifact is meaningless as far as you are concerned. It is definitely positively not a real heart problem. It's a problem in electrical conductivity. For example, if the pasties are not correctly in contact the EKG may show what seems to be ventricular fibrillation, even in a perfectly normal heart.
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thanks a million! :)
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As a person who worked running EKGs I can tell you that artifact means nothing is wrong with your heart. Artifact can be anything from a patient moving to electrical signals coming from an outlet in the wall. It is EASILY seen and understood for what it is on the tracing and nothing to worry about.  
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Artifact is benign, you don't need to see a cardiologist for that alone
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