Ecg Basics Essay

1943 Words Aug 17th, 2011 8 Pages
Contents Page

Abstract 1
Section 1– Correct lead placement 2
Section 2 - Incorrect lead placement 5
Section 3 – Conclusion and recommendations 7


Recording an electrocardiogram or ECG, is a procedure which is performed daily all over the United Kingdom by thousands of healthcare workers and in particular nurses (Jacobson, 2000). The way in which this procedure is performed varies from geographical location to location and occasionally even more so, between staff on the same ward (Amos, 2000). This reason stated by Amos (2000), formed the basis of my decision to choose this topic.

The recording of an ECG is often seen as a fairly mundane, routine
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The patient's ankles also need to be exposed at this point. In addition it is suggested that Nurses need also to remember to keep the patient's lower half covered as much as possible and treat the patient with the utmost respect at all times (Dougherty and Mallet, 2000).
If using a machine equipped with metallic stickers, it is important that the nurse wipes the patient's skin with an alcoholic swab before applying, to ensure good electrical contact is made as this according to Ford (2002) will save time in the long run.
If the machine is supplied with the suction cups, then electrode spray must be applied to the areas of skin and where electrodes will be placed.
Men with very hairy chests may require a gel based electrodes for adhesion, or in extreme cases, shaving may be needed. Lewes (1965) publish an paper stating that ketchup, mayonnaise and K-Y jelly all were as good as hospital adhesion gels, based on performance, however as Cowley (2002) points out, it is considered somewhat strange and not seen as best practice to cover your patient in ketchup or mayonnaise prior to recording an ECG.
Finally, ensure that the patient is supine on a bed, comfortable and relaxed. Cowley (2002) describes how accurate chest lead placement is essential for ensuring quality ECG output, as any misplaced leads may result in a change in ECG waveform, in turn this may cause the ECG trace to be misinterpreted. The full pictorial description

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