1. Understanding the electricity of the heart
THIS article, the first of three aimed at assisting those in practice in interpreting electrocardiograms (ECGs), discusses the electrical activity of the heart and how this relates to the complexes seen on an ECG. It also describes the clinical findings on auscultation and palpation of the pulse. It must be remembered that an ECG trace should always be interpreted in the light of a thorough clinical examination of the cardiovascular system, with particular attention being paid to heart rate and rhythm, pulse rate, and identification of pulse deficits, if present. The second article in the series, to be published in the next issue, will discuss the abnormalities associated with the conduction system of the heart. The final article, to be published in the May issue, will outline a practical approach to interpreting ECGs.
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