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Elsie Has an Electrocardiogram

Elsie and her parents
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Hi! I'm Elsie. I just had a test called an EKG. It helped my doctor learn more about my heart. I wasn't sure what the test would be like. But it was fine! Here's how it went.

Elsie imagines her heart playing a drum
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When my dad told me I needed to have a heart test, I didn't know what that meant.

He said, "Elsie, you know how you always choose the drum on music day at school?"

"Yeah!" I said, "Because I like to beat the drum REALLY LOUD!"

"Right," said Dad. "Well, your heart beats along in your chest kind of like a drum. This test helps your doctor learn more about what kind of a beat your heart makes."

I liked thinking about my heart beating along like a drum in a song.

Jeff tells Elsie and her parents about the test
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We went to the doctor's office, and I met a nice man named Jeff.

"Hi Elsie," he said. "I'm going to give you your heart test today. It's called an electrocardiogram. But we say ‘EKG' for short."

Jeff told me that his computer would make a picture of my heartbeat for my doctor to look at.

"But don't worry," Jeff said. "The test doesn't take very long, and it doesn't hurt a bit."

Elsie lies on the bed in her special shirt while Jeff shows her the computer
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Jeff took us back to a room that had a tall bed in it. There was also a computer there with wires coming out of it.

I had to put on a special shirt for the test. It was longer than a normal shirt. And my parents got to stay with me for the test.

Jeff puts little stickers on Elsie's chest and arm
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Jeff cleaned some spots on my chest, arms, and legs. He put little stickers on those spots. The stickers had a bit of jelly stuff on them, and they were kind of cold. Then Jeff put wires on the stickers. He told me that the stickers and wires help check on how my heart beats.

It looked funny, like I was getting plugged into a computer! But Jeff was right. It didn't hurt a bit.

A picture of Elsie's heartbeat
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When Jeff turned on the computer, my job was to stay really still. That way, the computer could take a good picture of my heartbeat. When the computer was done, Jeff printed the picture and showed it to me.

This is what a picture of a heartbeat looks like! It has little lines that go up and down, all across the page.

Elsie is back in her normal clothes after the test
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Then I was done! The test was really fast. Jeff peeled the stickers off, and I put my normal clothes back on.

Mom and Dad stayed with me the whole time. They said I did a great job. And I was proud that I helped by following directions.

That's Elsie's story. Now that you know what her EKG was like, you'll be ready when it's time for yours. What do you think the picture of YOUR heartbeat will look like? Can you draw it?

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