An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that evaluates the electrical impulses travelling through the heart. The information acquired from the ECG can be used to diagnose irregular heart rhythms, abnormal conduction of the electrical signals, enlargement of the heart, previous heart injury or ongoing heart blood and oxygen supply problems, typically referred to as ischemia. The test is quick and painless. It is done in the examination room during your medical exam.
The test involves the attachment of stickers, or leads, to your chest. Wires are attached to these leads. The wires transmit the detected electrical impulses to a computer. The computer then generates a printout of the electrical signals for each lead. Each lead represents a different part of the heart and allows the physician to determine if there are abnormal signals and from what part of the heart it is coming from. It is not fool proof but is one of the tests available and is simple to do. The ECG is submitted as part of your application.
Not all pilots will require an ECG. It depends on your age, the category of certification applied for and past medical history. If you have a copy of a previous ECG, please bring it with you to your appointment. It helps determine if there are changes from previous and if some abnormalities are old or new.