Occasionally, we like to feature a normal ECG. It is important to start with the characteristics of the normal ECG when learning to recognize “abnormal”. Of course, there are many variations in ECGs considered to be normal. Once a student recognizes the features of the normal ECG, it becomes possible to recognize “abnormal” and then learn the clinical ramifications of the abnormalities.
This ECG is nearly completely normal. We say "nearly" because there are VERY subtle changes which may or may not be chronic. Unfortunately, we know nothing about this patient's history or circumstances except age, gender, and race, and the fact that she was an Emergency Department patient. If she presented with chest pain, the ECG might be viewed completely differently than if she presented with a fever.
It is always good to have a number of "normal" ECGs in your collection. This particular ECG has only three channels, lacking the fourth channel that is usually used for a rhythm strip. Some of your students might not work in settings where they have access to four-channel ECG machines. Often, paramedics in the field and medical personnel who use "crash carts" have ECG machines with narrow paper that run three channels at once. They will print their rhythm strips on one sheet and the 12-lead on another.
Up until now, we have posted basic rhythm strips in this area of the ECG Guru for those of you who are teachers of beginning students. Today, we offer a "normal" 12-Lead ECG for those desiring to introduce students to the 12-Lead format. It is always best to become familiar with normal before venturing into the realm of "abnormal". Encourage your students to find what they know to be normal, then add to their knowledge.
A nice, normal ECG for your collection. It always helps to have a normal ECG for your students to compare to the abnormal examples you show them. It pays to teach the characteristics of "normal" to your students so that they might readily recognize "abnormal". One could argue that the voltage in this ECG is rather low, but that can be explained by body habitus. Whether you are teaching basic rhythm interpretation, axis determination, R wave progression, or intervals, this ECG can be of help to you. Remember, if you are teaching students who have not yet learned
Sometimes, when teaching a class, it can actually be a challenge to find a good example of "normal" for your students. We all tend to collect the ECGs that are "interesting" or unusual. It is very important for students to fully recognize "normal" before they can appreciate "abnormal". Here is a nice example of a normal 12-Lead for you.
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