With this article we are trying to give you some tricks for placing electrocardiogram electrodes. Tricks and recommendations that we have collected from our experience, as well as those of several colleagues from the My EKG team.
We hope that these tips, which are so simple that they are sometimes overlooked, are useful in your daily work.
Tips for Correctly Performing an EKG
Related article: How to perform an electrocardiogram.
First Trick: Uncover chest, ankles and hands.
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It is important to remove all garments that cover the chest, wrists or ankles, as well as other objects present in the areas where the electrodes are placed, because they make it more difficult to obtain the EKG correctly.
Women will always be instructed to remove their bra, otherwise, it is necessary to place the precordial electrodes below the 5th intercostal space. If that occurs, the EKG would be poorly performed.
Other objects on the ankles and wrists, such as chains or watches, must also be removed and cell phones or electronic devices must be set aside. All of this improves the quality of the electrocardiogram, decreasing the appearance of artifacts.
Second Trick: Assure the patient's dignity.
This is the main complaint of patients in social networks, especially by women.
While we have recommended to completely undress the chest as the first advice, this should be done while assuring the dignity of the patient.
It is advisable to deliver a hospital gown or at least cover the chest with a sheet while the electrocardiogram is performed, provided it is not in contact with the electrodes.
Third Trick: If there is hair, shave it.
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This is another point that is often forgotten, because in patients with a lot of hair on their chest it is clear that you must shave it, but we also recommend shaving even if the patient has little hair.
Why? For two reasons:
It guarantees a better contact of the electrode with the skin and above all (very important) you save the patient from a painful hair removal when removing the electrode.
Fourth Trick: Clean the electrode placement zones.
Fully recommended for all patients. Not because they come dirty (some do, we aren’t going to lie), but because sweat, perfumes, or creams, decrease the adhesion of the electrodes, worsening the quality of the EKG, and therefore its correct interpretation.
You can clean the skin with gauze soaked in alcohol solution or simply with a towel.
More information: How to perform an electrocardiogram.