All visitors are required to wear masks.

For COVID-19 safety, all visitors to ChristianaCare facilities and services are required to wear masks. This includes visitors who are vaccinated. Please read our visitor guidelines before arrival.

Masks required at outpatient locations; visitors and support persons limited

All visitors at outpatient locations must be masked in alignment with the masking guidelines on our visitation policy page here. Patients at ChristianaCare’s outpatient services are advised to come to their appointments alone unless a support person is absolutely needed. If a support person is needed, such as a parent, guardian or spokesperson, we highly encourage that the support person be vaccinated. Outpatient practices are not requiring vaccination or a negative COVID test for visitors at this time.

All hospital visitors required to be vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test.

  • Inpatients in our Christiana, Wilmington and Union hospitals may have one visitor daily between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. The visitor must be 16 or older.
  • Patients having outpatient surgery may have one support person accompany them. Support persons must be 16 or older.
  • All visitors and surgical support people must show proof of vaccination OR a negative COVID-19 test within the prior 72 hours.

Before visiting, click here for more details about visitation.

Visit or for local vaccination and testing sites.

Center for Heart & Vascular Health


An electrocardiogram, also called EKG or ECG, is a measurement of the electrical activity of your heart. This is a non-invasive test that measures the electrical signals through small electrodes that are placed at various places on your skin.

An EKG test is the best way to measure abnormal heart rhythms.

EKG and the heart’s electrical system

Your heart beats because of special cells that make electricity. They produce electrical impulses in natural pacemaker cells, which spread over the heart, causing it to contract.

Your heart’s natural pacemaker is called the sinoatrial node, or SA node. Your heart also has special fibers that carry the electrical signals from the SA node to the rest of the heart.

Although any electrical tissue in the heart can generate an electrical impulse and act as a pacemaker, the SA node does it fastest and is normally in control. If the SA node fails, other parts of the electrical system can take over, usually at a slower rate.

While pacemaker cells create the electrical impulse that causes the heart to beat, the autonomic nervous system (ANS) can change the pulse rate and strength of the heart’s contractions. The ANS includes the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nerves increase the heart rate and increase the force of contraction. The parasympathetic nerves do the opposite. All this activity produces electrical waves we can measure. The measurement is typically represented as a graph called an electrocardiogram. Your electrocardiogram shows your heart’s electrical activity, labeling three phases:

  • P wave coincides with the spread of electrical activity over the atria and the beginning of its contraction.
  • QRS complex coincides with the spread of electrical activity over the ventricles and the beginning of its contraction.
  • T wave coincides with the recovery phase of the ventricles.

Why is electrocardiogram abbreviated EKG?

People often wonder why electrocardiogram is abbreviated as EKG instead of ECG. The reason is that ECG sounds very similar to EEG, which is the abbreviation for electroencephalogram, a test that measures electrical activity in the brain. In order to avoid confusion, it became a convention to use the abbreviation for the German spelling—elektrokardiogramm—for the heart test, which is why it is commonly called an EKG.

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