(Last Updated On: 10/11/2018)

Just how well can a general practitioner interpret an EKG of your heart? This is a very fair question.

After all, some patients may not feel comfortable that a general doctor, or one who is not a cardiologist, is the only doctor who’s interpreting their EKG.

“An electrocardiogram, also referred to as an EKG or ECG, is used to detect electrical activity within the heart,” says Walter Gaman, MD, FABFM, board certified in family medicine; the author of several award-winning books including “Age to Perfection: How to Thrive to 100, Happy, Healthy, and Wise,” a partner at Executive Medicine of Texas, and who’s with the Staying Young Radio Show 2.0 podcast.

“An abnormal tracing could be the sign of an active or previous heart attack, poor blood flow (ischemia) or an abnormal rhythm,” continues Dr. Gaman.

“GP or general practitioner refers to someone who is not board certified. Reading and interpreting an EKG for emergency purposes is something most physicians learn during residency.

“A GP may or may not incorporate that skill into practice later during their profession.

“Most physicians who are board certified, such as internists and family medicine physicians, use EKG within the office and have had continuing education on EKG interpretation, as it pertains to overall heart health and disease management.”