Used to measure the heart’s electrical activity, an electrocardiogram (ECG) is a non-invasive but highly effective way of detecting heart abnormalities.
A normal ECG should show three waves. It’s not just the height of these wave that’s important, but also the frequency.
Each wave stage should be completed within a specific time to be considered normal. The measurements themselves are in fractions of a second, however the ECG paper means you can count the very small timeframes in squares. This method of measuring in small squares is much more widely used than tenths and hundredths of seconds.
What else might an abnormal ECG indicate?
ECGs measure various aspects of the heart’s function, so the results can indicate not just a potential heart attack but several issues as well. These include:
Abnormalities or inconsistencies in the heart’s shape and size
An abnormal ECG can indicate an enlargement in the walls of the heart. This may point towards heart failure, or the fact that the heart is working much harder than it should.
Any usual ECG activity could also point to heart rate or rhythm abnormalities, electrolyte imbalances or side effects from medication to name just three. This makes it crucial to be able to read and understand an ECG quickly and effectively so a course of action can be determined.
Looking to understand more about ECG?
If you’re a clinician and wish to improve your knowledge on this fascinating topic then PDUK’s The Patient – The Clinician – The ECG course is ideal. Highly interactive and worth 16 hours of CPD, this two-day module covers the key aspects you need to know about ECG.
The course will also examine a range of important ECGs seen in everyday practice. It will involve in depth dissecting of the ECG considering the patient’s presentation and how best to manage the patient once a diagnosis is reached.
This course is aimed primarily at doctors and junior doctors, as well as nurses and other allied health professionals. It’s delivered online but is extremely hands on and engaging, with breaks for questions throughout.
Click here to find out more about the course and secure your space today.