ECG Success: Exercises in ECG Interpretation – No one is born knowing how to read ECG strips. We learn to do many things in a lifetime, and nearly all of them get better with practice. If you’re planning to use this book, ECG isn’t completely new to you––you have a good idea of what’s involved in generating and interpreting a tracing.

ECG Success covers all the information you will need––anatomy and physiology, practice, and case scenarios, and relevant emergency care––to help you feel competent and in control, whether the situation involves an emergency or just a nonthreatening ECG. This book has staying power. You will find its content useful across a spectrum of situations, from classroom study through clinical experience and later in actual practice.

Pattern recognition lies at the heart of ECG interpretation. This skill develops with experience, gained through repetition and variety. You need to see the same patterns over and over again, but you also need to see as great a diversity as possible. In ECG Success you’ll find more than 550 ECG tracings.

ECG Success: Exercises in ECG Interpretation is organized into four units. First, two introductory chapters review the background information you need for working with ECG. Chapter One discusses heart anatomy and physiology, including biomechanics and electrophysiology. Chapter Two gives you the basics of ECG: limb and chest leads, electrode placement, cable connections, components of a tracing, rhythm strip analysis, and more.

In Unit Two, seven chapters explain and illustrate the different types of rhythm, some dangerous, others merely troublesome, and a few even normal. Each of these chapters gives you a group of nine practice strips to analyze, with the answers given at the end of the chapter. All types of arrhythmias are discussed and illustrated: sinus, atrial, junctional, and ventricular; atrioventricular and bundle branch blocks; artifact; and artificial pacemaker rhythm. The section ends with a chapter on myocardial infarction and the 12-lead ECG.

The chapter practice strips will warm you up for Unit Three, the working core of the book. You’ll find four test chapters with a total of 300 strips and the answers given at the end of each chapter so you can check your work. In case you’re hungry for more, the two chapters in Unit Four comprise eleven real-life case studies, followed by multiple-choice questions and illustrated by more ECG strips. Four appendices round out the book: Healthcare Provider Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, Advanced Cardiac Life Support Protocols, Emergency Medications, and Emergency Medical Skills.

As you page through this book – ECG Success: Exercises in ECG Interpretation you’ll find some special features to guide you. In Units One and Two, frequent Clinical Tips provide valuable information on how an arrhythmia can affect the patient. Hints on rhythm interpretation appear throughout the first practice strip chapter. I couldn’t have written this book without building up a track record of my own ECG successes.

The secret: I had a good instructor who was patient and explained everything in detail. She kept emphasizing that we had to follow every step when analyzing a rhythm; shortcuts are dangerous because you can miss critical details on the rhythm strip. Then we had to practice, practice, practice. That repetition, combined with careful attention to every step, was the real key to my success. Take your time now, and use ECG Success to improve your skills. Once you run into a genuine emergency you will have only minutes, or less, to interpret the ECG correctly and ensure the right treatment for the patient

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