ECG and stethoscope. Electrocardiogram (ECG) trace and a stethoscope. An ECG trace shows the heart's electrical activity. Careful study of an ECG can allow diagnosis of a disorder of the heart. The repeating pattern of electrical activity causes regular heart contractions, or heart beats, that pump blood around the body. The heart rate (HR) is the number of beats per minute, here 69. On the ECG, the tall narrow peak shows the pumping action of the ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart that do most of the pumping. A stethoscope is used to listen to body sounds. Listening to the heart beat can reveal irregularities that need further investigation.
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