the definitive text on this that has been around since i started working as a telemetry nurse back in 1982 is rapid interpretation of ekg's
(now in it's 6th edition) by dale dubin. currently priced at $35.50 on b&n site. when you are studying egks it is important to first know how the blood circulates through the heart. next, concentrate on learning about the normal electrical system of the heart and how, where and what structures a normal electrical impulse travels as it spreads through the heart. you have to know and understand those two concepts. all abnormal ekg's which are just tracings of the electrical impulses as they travel through the heart determine what kind of arrhythmias are going to show up. heart muscle, in general, begins to screw up the electrical impulse starting at the top of the heart and work it's way downward as the heart disease progresses. so, the first signs of a problem usually show up with sa node failure to conduct an impulse. by the time you get to a dying heart, all the structures above the ventricle have lost their ability to conduct a normal electrical impulse and the heart is left to keep itself going by generating and conducting ectopic electrical impulses in its ventricles. this is what docs and people who read ekgs are looking for when they are looking at ekg strips. first order of business, however, is to recognize what a normal ekg looks like.
whew! a lot said. here are a bunch of links for you. i put the ones on heart anatomy and physiology near the top because you really need to know that stuff first or you will never understand the rest about ekgs. the lower links go into some sites that have awesome traces of ekgs of all kinds of abnormalities. i doubt very much that your nursing instructors are going to want you to know much more than a normal ekg and a few very, very basic beginning arrhythmias. there is still some ekg stuff i don't know and i've been doing it a long time. i strongly recommend the dubin book if you can afford it, or can borrow a copy from a medical library at a hospital.
- anatomy of the heart, includes a quiz to label the anatomical parts of the heart - links at bottom of the page on ekgs
- anatomy of the human heart from the texas heart institute - includes information on the heartbeat, heart valves, the conduction system, the coronary arteries and the circulatory system
- heart and blood vessel anatomy from the university of wisconsin - includes pictures cardiac arteries and pictures of sheep hearts
- these are links to one page diagrams of the heart, veins, and arteries from the university of minnesota/ with answers on line
- heart animations
- an online tutorial with diagrams on everything you want to know about ekg interpretation from the university of utah school of medicine. also has quizzes! geared for physicians, but nurses can get information from this also.
- where to place your stethoscope to hear valves of the heart.
- the auscultation assistant - explains and give audio examples of the various heart sounds - have your sound turned on
- super ekg puzzler - 215 rhythm strips to diagnosis--included the answers- click on "go to this site now" to enter the tutorial
- myocardial infarction (ekg tutorial) for mcgill university college of medicine - presents rhythm strips and analysis
- ekg library of rhythm strips