Any tips on reading EKG's?

  1. First, I would like to say God bless you all. I am in my last semester of nursing school and we are learning how to read EKG's...I just learned it any my head is spinning!:roll

    Any way, I know once I start memorizing some stuff it'll make more sense but I was wondering if you guys had any memorization tips you learned along the way to recognize a certain arrythmia or ANYTHING that has to do with EKG's.
    This repolarization and depolarization has me a little confused...does repol mean the heart isn ot contracting at the time and depol means it is contracting?

    Please help me if you can! Thank you so much guys!

  2. Visit nicoleinphilly profile page

    About nicoleinphilly

    Joined: Aug '02; Posts: 59
    telemetry nurse


  3. by   ShandyLynnRN
    I am of no help. I started crying during the class over ekg's. ARGH!
  4. by   JohnnyGage
    First of all, the best way to learn EKGs (after the basics about waves and intervals, etc) is to practice. And practice, practice, practice. (You might even want to practice some more.) Go to a telemetry floor during clinicals and run off every strip you can find, then do your interpretation and then ask an experienced nurse to check your answers. Best way, hands down.

    In terms of depolarization and repolarization... depolarization occurs immeditately prior to contraction of a muscle. The p-wave and QRS complexes are depolarization. Repolarization occurs during relaxation (t-wave). Another way to think of it: depolarization = systole (of any given chamber atrial or ventricular) and repolarization = diastole.

    Two great books: ECGs Made Incredibly Easy, and Rapid Interpretation of EKGs, by Dale Dubin. (I don't remember who did Incredibly Easy, but there's a bunch of them out there.)
  5. by   RNforLongTime
    The incredibly Easy Series published by Springhouse is VERy Easy to understand. I suggest you start with that book
  6. by   safdarimt
    I suggest you refer to An Introduction to Electrocardiography by Leo Schamroth
    and also don't forget practice makes perfect
    Best regards
  7. by   KC CHICK
    Learn to recognize NSR, then your fatal arrythmia's, then everything in between will fall into place a little easier. It was for me, anyway.
    Just have to memorize P-R, QRS interval lengths for NSR. That way, if one of them is off, you know it's not NSR. Also, check for irregularity of the rythm...that's another big clue.


    Last edit by KC CHICK on Feb 21, '03
  8. by   Mimi Wheeze
    Johnny Gage, for some reason, your one sentence "re-pol = diastole and de-pol = systole" really helped me! It just summed it all up for me, and now it makes more sense! :kiss

    Thank you!

    KC Chick: where did you get that heart graphic? Is there a website or something? You guys are great!
  9. by   KC CHICK
    It's the website that's shown on the graphic.
    There are many websites with EKG information. Just plug EKG into your search engine and you should find a bunch.
  10. by   Mimi Wheeze
    Duh! Didn't even see the web address on the graphic!

    Dubin's, Dubin's, Dubin's!!!!!

    The best book for starting to read 12 lead EKG's.

    I teach from it and all participants love it.
  12. by   Sleepyeyes
    Excellent website, has learning and games to teach ECG interpretation:

    I'm finally getting the hang of this.
  13. by   JoL
    I found a good site first thing you should learn in Normal Sinus Rhythm and the electrical current through the heart the rest is a doddle.
  14. by   LilRedRN1973
    Our entire A&P class failed our cardiology exam. Our professor had questions on there where we had to basically diagnose using only a 12 lead EKG. For instance, we were shown an EKG and had to tell if it was an MI and if so, where was it occurring. He also had us do axis deviation and a myriad of other cardiac diagnosing. There was a nurse in our class who actually worked in a cardiology unit and was auditing his class...she scored a 68 on the exam. The class average was a 62. It was by far our most difficult exam the entire year. I'm dreading when we pick cardiology up in the nursing program....ugh!!!! But I agree with the other poster...Dubin's book did help some. I"m still confused but it's organized confusion! = )