Dr Allan Harkness

Consultant Cardiologist for Essex and Suffolk


I can arrange for you to have an ECG at The Oaks, Colchester Hospital or the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre. Most new patient consultations will involve you having an ECG as part of your assessment.

An ECG is a simple test to look at the electrical signals travelling through your heart.

It can give a huge amount of information, such as the rhythm of your heart and whether you have had a heart attack.

What does it involve?

You will be asked to strip to the waist. ECG stickers will be placed on your arms and legs and across the left side of your chest. The ECG leads will be clipped to the stickers and you will be asked to lie very still. The ECG will be recorded over a few seconds. The stickers can then be taken off and you can dress.

What preparation is needed?

No preparation is required but it is helpful if you can wear clothing that is easy to remove (eg no buttons or fasteners and less layers of clothing). Since we need to attach the stickers to the skin of your legs, please do not wear tights or stockings if possible. Finally, please do not apply creams or oils to your skin as this can prevent the stickers actually sticking.

How long does it take?

The whole procedure takes about 5 minutes but the actual recording is only of a few seconds of heart beats.

What happens after

If the ECG is done in the clinic, I will explain the findings immediately.

What are the risks?

There are no known risks. It is unlikely that you would develop an allergic reaction to the stickers since they are only on your skin for a few minutes. However, please let me know if you have had allergies to ECG stickers in the past.

What are the benefits?

This simple test can help reveal a lot about your heart’s rhythm. It can show if there are problems with the electrical system of the heart and can reveal if you have had a heart attack. It can also show if your heart is under strain from high blood pressure.