Tag Archive for: EKG

Triage ECGs: Reducing Interruptions in a Busy ED

09 Mar
March 9, 2017

Background: Lets face it. All of us have been interrupted by the onslaught of triage ECGs for interpretation.  This constant flow of pink paper with black scribble causes frequent task switching, interrupts train of thought, and ultimately can lead to medical errors, which affects the patients in front of us.  On the other hand, it is important to avoid delays in care and, in accordance with the American Heart Association guidelines, ECGs in triage should be obtained and interpreted by an attending emergency physician within 10 minutes of arrival to the emergency department for any patients with concerns of acute coronary syndrome. Is there a way to maybe minimize the number of interruptions? Read more →

Five ECG Patterns You Must Know

04 Feb
February 4, 2016

ECG PatternsBackground: The electrocardiogram (ECG) is one of the most useful diagnostic studies for identification of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The classic teaching is ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is defined as symptoms consistent with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) + new ST-segment elevation at the J point in at least 2 anatomically contiguous leads of at least 2mm (0.2mV) in men or at least 1.5mm in women in leads V2 – V3 and/or at least 1mm (0.1mV) in other contiguous leads or the limb leads, in the absence of a left bundle branch block, left ventricular hypertrophy, or other non-acute MI ST-segment elevation presentations. Unfortunately, the ECG may be non-diagnostic in nearly half of all patients who initially present with AMI. There are also STEMI equivalent patterns that are caused by occlusion of the coronary arteries that place a significant portion of the left ventricle at jeopardy and result in poor outcomes. This review article focused on 5 under recognized high-risk ECG patterns in the ACS patient that result in poor outcomes including malignant dysrhythmias, higher rates of cardiogenic shock, and death. Read more →

ECG Changes of Hyperkalemia

17 Apr
April 17, 2014

Heart and ECGHyperkalemia is an electrolyte abnormality seen in the emergency department as well as in hospitalized patients and it can be associated with adverse clinical outcomes and death if not treated appropriately. It is important to remember that the electrophysiologic effects of hyperkalemia are directly proportional to both the absolute plasma potassium and its rate of rise. However, neither the ECG nor the plasma potassium alone are an adequate index of the severity of hyperkalemia, and therefore providers should have a low threshold to initiate therapy. Classic teaching of the chronological ECG changes of hyperkalemia include:

  1. Peaked T waves
  2. Prolongation of PR interval
  3. Widening QRS Complex
  4. Loss of P wave
  5. “Sine Wave”
  6. Asystole

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ECG Basics

15 Feb
February 15, 2014

ECG BasicsElectrocardiography is a fundamental part of cardiovascular assessment. It is an essential tool for investigating cardiac arrhythmias and ischemia. Just because electrocardiography is a basic skill in EM doesn’t mean that our skills should be basic…we must be the EXPERTS! Below is a summary of some ECG basics including:

  • ECG Measurements
  • ECG Rate
  • ECG Axis


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R.E.B.E.L. ECG of the Week #6

12 Dec
December 12, 2013

R.E.B.E.L. EM ECG of the Week #6The case from this week is from one of the PGY-1 residents at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA).  Several of the details of the case have been changed to keep patient information confidential.

53 year old female with a past medical history of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, and 3 anterior myocardial infarctions s/p 4-vessel CABG (LIMA-LAD, RIMA-RCA, SVG-D1-OM1 sequentially) 9 months ago who presents with intermittent 10/10 chest pain that radiates to his left arm for the past 6 months. The chest pain is associated with nausea and shortness of breath but denies diaphoresis or syncope. Patient reports that the pain is the same as his index chest pain and is both exertional and non-exertional and will often wake him up from sleep. The pain can last 5-10 minutes and is always relieved by rest. The patient reports good medication compliance (on metoprolol, atorvastatin, enalapril, amlodipine, aspirin). He presented with similar symptoms 3 months ago but left against medical advice before a work-up could be performed. Now he presents with increasing frequency of chest pain.

BP 152/105  HR 86 RR 16 O2 sat 99% on RA   Temp 98.0

ECG from triage is shown… Read more →

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