EKG: Electro Kardio Gram
This device was figured out by the Germans, hence, the term “Kardio” has been preserved. However, it is not unusual to occasionally see it referred to as the “ECG”, as in “Electro Cardio Gram”. This is done by them that either don’t know history, or have no respect for tradition.
If we are lying perfectly still, the primary muscle still moving is the heart muscle. In the standard “12 Lead EKG”, electrodes are place on the upper and lower extremities as well as across the chest.
When the EKG is recording, at any one time, one of those leads is (+) , and two other leads are (-) negative. There are 12 different standard ways of changing the plus and minus nature of the leads. This is a way to “look” at the heart from 12 different angles. It gives us an idea how the heart muscle is working and how the hearts nerves are working. It is known and agreed upon as to what each of the 12 patterns should look like. WARNNG! It is possible to have a stone cold normal EKG and get up and have a massive heart attack. Now, after the heart attack, the EKG would look different!
Pulse Wave Analysis
This is a cardiovascular (heart and circulation/blood vessel) and a nervous system screening device. There are many similar devices. The one we use is known as a “Max Pulse” from The Cardio Group. Below is a brief summary.
It is puzzling and amazing how much information can be gained by placing a monitor on a finger for a few seconds! When our heart beats, we can feel a pulse from our neck down to our feet! One thing we CAN’T feel is how fast that pulse rises and falls. Nor can we feel the echoes or after vibrations as the blood vessels relax.
By analyzing these echoes and vibrations of the pulses and the arteries and veins, we can get info about the status of the circulatory system and parts of the nervous system!
Our nervous system is made up of two big systems: the voluntary part and the involuntary part. We have to think about the voluntary part of the nervous system to make it work. The involuntary part of the nervous system basically runs on its own. It is called the “autonomic nervous system.
But! It is composed of two balancing nervous systems: the “flight or fight” (the sympathetic) nervous system, and the “breed and feed” or “rest and digest” (the parasympathetic) nervous system. When life is in balance, these two parts of the autonomic nervous system are in balance. When we are uptight and nervous, the sympathetic part (fight or flight) is more active or higher than the parasympathetic part, as in rest and digest. Oops! We are not “in balance”!
The Ankle Brachial Index
The “ABI” and is heralded as the best, non-invasive way to screen one’s circulation for risk of peripheral artery disease – as in heart attack, stroke, or getting gangrene in the lower extremities. (Google Ankle Brachial Index for more info!) A Doppler and blood pressure cuff is used to determine the blood pressure in both arms as well as both ankles. The higher pressure of the ankles is divided by the higher pressure of the arms.
- Normal ratio: 1.0 – 1.4
- Borderline: 0.9 – 1.0
- Abnormal: < 0.9