Baseline Electrocardiogram (ECG)

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A baseline electrocardiogram (ECG) is an ECG that is performed primarily to establish a patient’s normal ECG pattern so that any changes in the ECG can be compared to the baseline ECG. Baseline ECGs are often performed with other tests, such as stress tests, Holter monitors, or event monitors. In addition, a baseline ECG may be performed by itself.

There are several different types of baseline ECGs. The most common is a resting ECG, which is an ECG that is performed at rest, i.e., the patient does not perform any physical activity during the test. Resting ECGs are sometimes performed at home by the patient and sent to the cardiologist.

The purpose of a baseline ECG is to establish a reference against which later ECGs can be compared. Changes in the baseline ECG can indicate problems with the heart, such as arrhythmias or myocardial infarctions, or problems with other organs, such as the lungs or heart valves.

The majority of patients who have an abnormal ECG will have another abnormal ECG at some point in time. For example, if a patient has an abnormal resting ECG, abnormal beats will likely be seen on other resting ECGs, as well as on exercise stress tests or Holter monitors. However, patients with certain abnormal ECGs are more likely to have abnormal ECGs in the future. For example, an abnormal ECG from a patient who has had an infarction is more likely to be repeated than an abnormal ECG from a patient with an arrhythmia.

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