Teaching Axis Determination
Frontal plane axis determination often strikes fear into the hearts of new ECG students and ECG instructors. Instructors may struggle to make the topic relevant for their students, and students struggle to decipher all the complex “methods” that are offered for frontal plane axis determination.
The “best” way to teach axis is to use the method that works for you. First, YOU, as the instructor, need to understand the topic well. There are many ways to approach the calculation of the frontal plane axis. Some methods are more suitable for some students than others. You should keep in mind the student’s prior level of training, and the job that student uses ECG for.
First, WHAT IS frontal plane axis?Axis is the measurement of the MEAN (or average) of all the electrical waves as they move through the heart muscle. The ECG machine cannot show us all the tiny currents, so it combines the information from all the depolarization waves, and shows us the mean direction. The P wave has an axis, the QRS has an axis, and the T wave has an axis.