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Recording a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG)

27 June 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 12

The recording of a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) has become commonplace within the healthcare environment. It is regarded as the most frequently performed cardiovascular test worldwide, with more than 200 million ECGs recorded in 2017 (Macfarlane et al, 2017).

The 12-lead ECG is an important test, and in the context of presenting symptoms and a detailed history, can prove to be essential in the delivery of effective patient care (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2018). The timely recording of the 12-lead ECG may minimise additional risk and reduce negative patient outcomes as the information obtained from the 12-lead ECG can aid diagnosis and may also signify a need for urgent intervention (Alinier et al, 2006; Farley et al, 2012)—for example, a patient presenting with chest pain may be experiencing a myocardial infarction. However, if a poor technique is applied and the 12-lead ECG is not accurately recorded from the start, the information gained during the process may lead to the mismanagement of the patient (Jevon, 2010).

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