Electrocardiography is a commonly used, noninvasive procedure for recording electrical changes in the heart. The record, which is called an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), shows the series of waves that relate to the electrical impulses which occur during each beat of the heart. The results are printed on paper or displayed on a monitor. The waves in a normal record are named P, Q, R, S, and T, and follow in alphabetical order. The number of waves may vary, and other waves may be present.

Conducting the procedure:

Stepl. Work in a quiet, relaxing atmosphere away from sources of electrical interference.

Step2. Sanitize your hands.

Step3. Ask the patient to remove clothing from the waist up. The lower legs must also be uncovered. Assist the patient into a supine position on the table. A pillow can be used to support the patient s head.

Step4. Tell the patient that having an ECG recording is painless. Explain that he or she must lie still and not talk in order for an accurate recording to be obtained.

Step5. Prepare the patient's skin for application of the disposable electrodes. If the patient has oily skin or has used lotion, wipe the area to which the electrode will be applied with alcohol and allow it to dry.

Step6. Apply limb electrodes. Apply the chest electrodes.

Step7. Plug the patient cable into the machine. The cable should be supported on the table or on the patient" s abdomen to prevent pulling or twisting.

Step8. Turn on the electrocardiograph.

Step9. After the ECG has been recorded turn the machine off. Disconnect the lead wires. Remove and discard the electrodes. Assist the patient in stepping down from the table.

SteplO. Sanitize your hands. Chart the procedure. Return all equipment to its proper storage place.

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