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Basic principles of electrocardiographic interpretation

Author
Ary L Goldberger, MD
Section Editor
David M Mirvis, MD
Deputy Editor
Gordon M Saperia, MD, FACC

INTRODUCTION

The electrocardiogram (ECG) is a graphical record of electric potentials generated by the heart muscle during each cardiac cycle. These potentials are detected on the surface of the body using electrodes attached to the extremities and chest wall, and are then amplified by the electrocardiograph machine and displayed on special graph paper.

This topic will review the basic aspects of ECG interpretation, including:

The cardiac electrical cycle

ECG waveforms and intervals

ECG leads

              

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Tue Sep 08 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2015.
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References
Top
  1. Goldberger AL, Goldberger ZE, Shvilkin A. Goldberger's Clinical Electrocardiography: A Simplified Approach, 8th ed, Elsevier, Philadelphia 2012.
  2. Mirvis, DM, Goldberger, AL. Electrocardiography. In: Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 9th ed, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO (Eds), W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia 2015.
  3. Kligfield P, Gettes LS, Bailey JJ, et al. Recommendations for the standardization and interpretation of the electrocardiogram. Part I: The electrocardiogram and its technology. A scientific statement from the American Heart Association Electrocardiography and Arrhythmias Committee, Council on Clinical Cardiology; the American College of Cardiology Foundation; and the Heart Rhythm Society. Heart Rhythm 2007; 4:394.