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12-lead Electrocardiogram

Performing an electrocardiogram test (ECG or EKG) is essential for determining the activities of the heart which may lead to a disease. Doctors and medical technologists create an assessment of the heart condition through interpreting electric waves. A 12 lead EKG interpretation is a necessary tool which observes the activities of the heart through twelve lead points. Before doing an interpretation, one should have a keen knowledge of the different heart functions and parts to arrive at an accurate analysis. It measures three different directions of the heart: the right and left part; superior and inferior; and anterior and posterior.

Here are summarized instructions for 12 lead EKG interpretation.

Clean the area where you will put the electrodes with an alcohol pad, attach the yellow and green leads in the limbs. Be sure to place all the electrodes properly, or this will affect your final interpretation. For leads in the chest, V1 goes to the 4th intercostals space at the right sternal border; V2 goes to the fourth space at the left sternal border; V3 should be attached between V2 and V4; V4 should be located at the fifth space in the middle of the chest; V5 to the front axillary line; and V6 to the mid-axillary line.

Each electrode corresponds to an integral component of the heart. The V1 and V2 correspond to the right part of the heart, V3 and V4 (intraventricular septum), V5 and V6 (left part of the heart). Meanwhile, there are two types of waves detected: the P wave and the T wave. The P wave corresponds to the contraction of the atrial systole, while the T wave stands for the relaxation of the ventricular diastole.

First, physicians observe the wave forms and identify the heart rate. This can be done by simply counting the number of big squares in the middle of two complexes (QRS). The normal heartbeat of humans is 60 to 100 beats per minute. The patient has a normal heartbeat once the complexes have equal spaces.

To start the 12 lead EKG interpretation and diagnosis, one must familiarize himself with the common abnormal heart activities which could mean that there is a potential disease. Some examples of disorders and their manifestations are: atrial fibrillation. (multiple sites rhythm); hyperkalemia (tall T waves); acute myocardial infarction. (2mm ST wave elevation); ischemic changes. (inversion of T wave); and ventricular fibrillation. (no P waves and irregular heart beat).Image Source: http://images.google.com Continue reading

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