Pocket ECGs for Nurses: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Pocket ECGs for Nurses

1st Edition

By Andrew R. Houghton, Alun Roebuck


256 pages | 92 Color Illus.

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The ECG is one of the most commonly used investigations in contemporary medicine. Interpretation of the ECG can appear daunting, but it is actually relatively straightforward as long as a systematic approach is taken.

Pocket ECGs for Nurses assists with this task by providing a detailed yet readable introduction to ECG interpretation, supplemented by clinical information about how to act based on its findings.

The book begins by covering the basics of cardiac anatomy and physiology and how these relate to the ECG. It then guides nurses on how to perform a high-quality ECG recording, interpret it and make sense of common ECG abnormalities. The book also includes a guide to ambulatory and bedside monitoring as well as useful chapter summaries.

This pocketbook is an essential reference for the non-specialist who needs to be able to record and perform a basic and safe interpretation of an ECG. Written in plain language with clear explanations, bullet lists and summaries throughout, this handy guide will benefit nurses as well as paramedics and other allied health professionals in recording and reading ECGs.


"The purpose is to provide nurses with a detailed yet easily understandable book that may be readily accessed. The book provides a convenient reference thatwould be available for everyday use… The book discusses obtaining an ECG, the basics of ECG interpretation, andreviews dysrhythmias including supraventricular, ventricular, blocks, hypertrophies, and changes seen with an MI." - Gina M. Oliver, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, CNE(MU Sinclair School of Nursing), Doody's Book Review Service

Table of Contents

The Basics of the Heartbeat

The Heart Chambers

The Heart’s Myocytes

Anatomy of the Electrical System

Further Reading

The Basics of the ECG

ECG Leads

The Names of the ECG Waves

Normal Values

QRS (‘Cardiac’) Axis

Abnormal Cardiac Axis

Further Reading

How to Record a 12-Lead ECG

Initial Preparations

Skin Preparation

Electrode Placement

Special Electrode Positions

Recording the 12-Lead ECG

After Making the Recording

Further Reading

How to Read a 12-Lead ECG

Patient Data

Clinical Data

Technical Data

ECG Fundamentals

ECG Details

Clinical Summary

Further Reading

Heart Rate: Bradycardia and Tachycardia

Method 1: Counting Large Squares

Method 2: Counting Small Squares

Method 3: Counting QRS Complexes

P Wave Rate

Bradycardia and Tachycardia

Further Reading

An Approach to Heart Rhythms

Identifying the Cardiac Rhythm

Determining the Cardiac Rhythm

Further Reading

Supraventricular Rhythms

Sinus Rhythm

Sinus Arrhythmia

Sinus Bradycardia

Sinus Tachycardia

Sick Sinus Syndrome

Atrial Ectopic Beats

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Flutter

Atrial Tachycardia

AV Re-Entry Tachycardia

AV Nodal Re-Entry Tachycardia

Further Reading

Ventricular Rhythms

Ventricular Ectopic Beats

Accelerated Idioventricular Rhythm

Monomorphic Ventricular Tachycardia

Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia

Ventricular Fibrillation

Further Reading

Conduction Problems and Types of Block

Conduction Problems at the SA Node

Conduction Problems at the AV Node

Block at the Bundle Branches

Block at the Fascicles

Escape Rhythms

Further Reading

QRS Complexes and Left Ventricular Hypertrophy

Q Wave

Tall QRS Complexes

Small QRS Complexes

Broad QRS Complexes

Further Reading

ST Segment Elevation and Depression

Assessing the ST Segment

ST Segment Elevation

ST Segment Depression

Further Reading

T Wave Changes

Tall Upright T Waves

Small T Waves

Inverted T Waves

Further Reading

QT Interval Prolongation

What Is the QT Interval?

Measuring the QT Interval

‘Correcting’ the QT Interval

What Is a Normal QTC Interval?

Risks of a Long QT Interval

Causes of a Long QT Interval

Treatment of a Long QT Interval

Further Reading

Bedside and Ambulatory Monitoring

Inpatient ECG Monitoring

Outpatient ECG Monitoring

The Future of ECG Monitoring

Further Reading

Summary of Key Points

Basics of the Heartbeat

Basics of the ECG

How to Record a 12-Lead ECG

How to Read a 12-Lead ECG

Heart Rate: Tachycardia and Bradycardia

Approach to Heart Rhythms

Supraventricular Rhythms

Ventricular Rhythms

Conduction Problems and Types of Block

QRS Complexes and Left Ventricular Hypertrophy

ST Segment Elevation and Depression

T Wave Changes

QT Interval Prolongation

Bedside and Ambulatory Monitoring

Appendix A: ECG Resources

Appendix B: Help with the Next Edition

About the Authors

Andrew R. Houghton, MA (Oxon.), DM, FRCP (London), FESC, consultant cardiologist & deputy director of medical education, Grantham and District Hospital, UK

Alun Roebuck, MSc, PGCRM, BA, Dip NS, Dip ST, RN, NFESC, consultant nurse in cardiology/associate chief nurse, Lincolnshire Heart Centre, Lincoln County Hospital, UK

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Audiology & Speech Pathology
MEDICAL / Nursing / General
MEDICAL / Reproductive Medicine & Technology