ECG Guru - Instructor Resources

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The ECG GURU is devoted to providing resources for ECG teachers and their students. Follow the links above or the search terms to the left to find what you are looking for.  

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Instructors' Collection ECG of the WEEK, October 24, 2014 __ Inferior Wall M.I. and Right Bundle Branch Block

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 17:36 -- Dawn

This ECG shows two obvious abnormalities, right bundle branch block AND inferior wall M.I.  It is also a good teaching example of how the terminal wave of RBBB can be mistaken for the ST elevation of M.I.

First, check this ECG to see if it meets the criteria for right bundle branch block:

1)  The QRS will be wide. That is, it will be greater than or equal to .12 seconds (120 ms).  In this case, the QRS is 134 ms.

2)  The rhythm will be supraventricular.  Supraventricular rhythms originate from above the ventricles.  This ECG has P waves before each QRS.  Even though the rhythm is irregular, slowing down during this recorded period, it is a sinus rhythm.

3)  The QRS will have a terminal wave after the "normal" part of the QRS.  This represents the right ventricle depolarizing late.  It is very easily seen in V1, which normally has an rS pattern, and with RBBB has an rSR' pattern, making it appear upright.  V6 and Lead I will show this terminal wave as a wide little s wave.

As mentioned, there is also an acute inferior wall M.I. here.  The ST segment elevation in Leads II, III, and aVF are actually quite subtle.  The flat top of the ST segments gives them away as abnormal, along with the associated ST elevations in V5 and V6, and the reciprocal ST depressions in V1 through V3.  Normally, in IWMI, there will be reciprocal ST depressions in Leads I and aVL, but the elevations they are reflecting are very subtle, and so, therefore, are the depressions. 

The tricky thing about this ECG is that you must look carefully at the inferior wall leads to see the true ST elevation, which, as mentioned, is subtle.  The RBBB terminal wave of the QRS complexes in Leads III and aVF is upright, and is often mistaken for ST elevation.  Remember, ST segments are smooth from the end of the QRS to the peak of the T wave.  See the detail illustration.

This ECG is suitable for your classes from beginner level (rate variation in sinus rhythm) through advanced (clinical significance of RBBB in acute M.I.).  It also offers an example of reciprocal ST changes, and of a situation where the inferior leads II, III, and aVF are related to the low lateral leads V5 and V6 by a shared blood supply.

ECG TEACHING VIDEOS - An Important Tool For Teachers and Students Alike

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 23:40 -- Dawn

If you are a teacher, watching a masterful teacher present your topic can help you develop your style, and increase your own knowledge of your subject.  We don't all have the opportunity to attend live classes by the real ECG Gurus of the world, but many of them are now making FREE video lectures available to all of us. Even if you are not an instructor, for many of us, hearing and seeing the presentation is a more effective way to learn than just reading.    

ECG videos are plentiful on the Web.  That being said, we want to be careful who we learn from.  Anyone can publish anything now.  Fortunately, there are some really good teachers out there making videos.  The ECG Guru website would like to recommend two in particular:

Dr. Ken Grauer, MD, is a consulting expert for this website.  Most of you are aware of his website and his excellent print and e-pub publications.  But, he has recently begun making ECG instructional videos, and they are excellent!  Each video is presented in a methodical, organized way, with clear illustrations.  There is something for everyone, from the beginner to the advanced ECG user, including instructors.  To see Dr. Grauer's bio, go to this LINK.  Follow this link to watch his ECG videos.

Dr. Amal Mattu, MD, FACEP, is also well-known to regular readers of the ECG Guru website.  He is an Emergency physician and faculty member at the University of Maryland.  He presents an ECG Video of the Week every week, and they are outstanding!  You will love his conversational style, and his markup illustrations as he progresses through each week's case.  His focus is very clinical and practical, and he manages to be very entertaining as well.  If you are an instructor, you will learn a lot about teaching style from Dr. Mattu.  For his bio, go to this LINK.  Follow this link to his ECG Videos. 

 

ECG Basics: Ventricular Fibrillation Converted With Defibrillation

Sat, 09/06/2014 - 22:48 -- Dawn

A good example of ventricular fibrillation converted by electric defibrillation to what appears to be a sinus rhythm.  There is significant artifact in the post-conversion strip, but the last beat on the strip appears to have a P-QRS-T sequence.

Of course, V Fib presents without pulses, and must be defibrillated as soon as possible.  Best results are achieved by defibrillating a perfused heart, so if there is any delay from onset of V Fib, CPR should be performed to perfuse the heart prior to defibrillation.

Ask The Expert

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 17:23 -- Dawn
Darlene Hutton, RN, BScN, MSN

As a fairly new educator in the telemetry/medical unit or Emergency Department, what steps would you suggest taking in helping new nurses to the unit understand ECG Interpretation?

 

Today's Expert is Darlene Hutton, RN, BScN, MSN

Darlene Hutton has worked in CCU, ICU, PACU, and Emergency as a bedside nurse, educator, and manager. She is currently working as a Clinical Research Manager at Rouge Valley Metabolic Research Associates in Toronto. Darlene also is an Educational Consultant providing workshops, seminars, and conferences on such topics as ECG Interpretation, Dysrhythmia Interpretation, Acute Coronary Syndromes and Cardiology Drugs. She is also an ACLS Course Director and runs courses throughout the province. Her company, QRS Educational Services, founded 18 years ago, provides education to nurses and other health care professionals throughout Canada. She is also the Department Head for Emergency Preparedness in the O.R. in the American College of Plastic Surgical Nursing journal.

 Darlene@qrseducation.com

(905) 706-3301     www.qrs-education.com     www.facebook.com/qrs.educationservices


ANSWER:

As an independent educator for the past 20 years, I have had the incredible pleasure of spending time with novice to expert nurses in their respective field from a variety of different hospital settings.  My response to this question comes from what I have learned from each of these individuals over the past 2 decades.

We know that the “expert” practitioner is sometimes not the best educator because of their own challenges in bringing the information to a basic level of understanding.  What makes an educator invaluable is their ability to bring the most advanced concepts to the level of understanding for the individual and tailor the education to that level.

A novice nurse entering into one of these units will likely have had some courses in rhythm interpretation as a basic entry level requirement.  However, I find that many of these nurses have not had adequate preparation time in being able to apply a systematic approach to assessing the 12 Lead ECG. When working in these types of units, promptly assessing the ECG is essential to ensure there is no time delay in notifying the physician of anything urgent.

I apply a step-wise approach in ensuring that the basics are understood before moving on to the more intricate aspects of the ECG.

The basics that I assess are:

1. Ensure the nurse understands what the P, QRS, and ST represent and their significance, if abnormal. Most importantly, I ask them to point out examples of ST elevation and depression on various ECGs.  You would be surprised at how many people do not know this very core concept and before discussing treatment management and complications, this basic concept needs to be well understood. If you only have 30 minutes to spend with a nurse on this particular day, this would be the priority, in my opinion.

2. The next step would then be to assess their knowledge and discuss what’s happening with ST elevation/depression, including the treatment strategies. This can be achieved in 30 minutes to an hour.

3. Third: anticipated complications. I can’t tell you how often I hear nurses want to give a saline bolus to a hypotensive patient experiencing an anterior wall MI.  They do not understand the pathophysiology and their actions will subsequently worsen the situation.  Apart from cardiac arrest occurring with any MI, I expect that everyone understands the ‘expected’ complications associated with the inferior and anterior wall MI. For this, I keep it very simple so retention of information remains. “The heart is comprised of 2 pumps. If the right pump fails and backs up, what will you notice? Will the chest be wet or dry? (about 1/3 of the group will say wet, which is incorrect). If the left pump fails and backs up (such as in an anterior MI), where does it back up to? Will the chest be wet or dry?” By keeping it simple, the concepts are easier to understand and retain.

4. In many of the hospitals, there is an annual recertification of the ECG basics and this is another opportunity as an educator to assist those who may be struggling. 

5. I also provide staff with reference tools so they can help themselves learn at their own pace. On my educational website: www.qrs-education.com , there are reference links and tips under the QRS Tips tab as well as our manual which you can read about in the Products page. This manual has taken the complex concepts to a more manageable level. I also promote Dawn’s website (www.ecgguru.com ) as another invaluable tool. Two examples of interactive links are:  www.practicalclinicalskills.com  and www.skillsstat.com 

I hope this has helped. Thank you.

Darlene Hutton

President, QRS Educational Services

www.qrs-education.com  

 

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Photograph by Alyssa Bean.  May be used free of charge and free of copyright in instructional setting.  Please contact the artist at Dawn.ECGGuru@gmail.com for any commercial use.

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