Basic EKG interpretation

Published: 10th March 2008
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Understanding and interpreting a standard 12-lead ecg can prove to be a quite difficult task, especially for students and practicing nurses at their first contact with clinical cases requiring an accurate interpretation of an ecg. Basic knowledge of the ecg is usually the most difficult to assimilate, as it implies learning the basis of interpretation. Every student, nurse or even resident doctor must be aware of the importance of correlating clinical findings after a complete examination with the ecg findings. A good basic ecg interpretation may rely on the ability to combine clinical skills with basic ecg interpretation.

A systematic approach in course of a basic ecg interpretation might appear as highly recommended for students having their first experiences with an ecg in practice. An essential step towards a good basic ecg interpretation is understanding how and why the electrodes are placed in certain locations on the patient's body. Identifying errors in the positioning of the electrodes can sometimes be vital for a further accurate interpretation of the resulting ecg.

When the electrodes are successfully placed at the right spots, the student may begin to analyze the 12-lead EKG starting with heart rate, identification of the sinus rhythm or an abnormal electrical conduction, the heart axis calculated in function of the QRS complex, duration and amplitude of the different waves and intervals. The commonly used ecg paper is divided into 1mm squares and the speed of the registration is usually 25 mm per second.

Besides ecg training in school and in hospitals and ekg books, an also well accepted and received method of understanding and learning how to read an ecg are the interactive web-based applications meant to offer necessary knowledge and skills to any student or nurse with access to the Internet.

The e-learning ecg method is an innovative way of learning the interpretation of a standard ecg and also a way to practice the accumulated practical skills. The e-learning ecg programs are designed to match every student's personal needs by monitoring the progress and adapting the teaching method according to the student's capacity of being receptive.

Online e-learning ecg, training courses and accessible exercise methods are becoming more solicitant by students and nurses all over the world every day. The e-learning ecg courses are designed by licensed healthcare and IT training companies. The teaching ways are specialized on different learning steps and made to match the personal needs of the person that accesses online ecg training courses.

E-learning ecg is in general based on the same learning steps as the other ekg teaching methods like live courses and ekg books. Students are taught to recognize a 12-lead standard ecg and be able to interpret at first most simple ecg-related knowledge like heart rate, rhythm, QRS axis. Further steps in e-learning ekg are to recognize and interpret different abnormalities of frequency, arrhythmias, dysrhythmias, electrophysical conduction of the impulse.

In order to be an active participant to an e-learning ecg course you must subscript to one of the available open training courses. After joining the e-learning program, the student or nurse can participate to online live courses, take tests and exercise the practical ecg skills accumulated during the training.

Basic ekg interpretation can prove to be quite difficult for both student and teacher. All methods, ecg books, e-learning and other similar courses must be planned according to every student's special needs. It might be hard at first but by no means is it impossible.

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