Chapter I Physiology of the Heart and Circulation System

Chapter II The Electrocardiogram and the Normal EKG

Chapter III Arrhythmia Determination

Chapter IV Arrhythmias and Select Disease Conditions

Chapter V The 12-Lead EKG



Course Exam


The unipolar of V lead technique we just presented is used on a horizontal plane with the chest orprecordial leads. The precordial leads consist of a positive electrode strategically placed on the chest. The positions of these precordial leads are shown in the preceding illustration. These chest leads detect electrical impulses from the heart on a horizontal plane across the heart.  This tracing gives a different view of the heart and allows detection of arrhythmias that are undetectable from the frontal plane angles. 


The first six leads of the 12-lead EKG are obtained using the frontal plane technique. This frontalplan detects electrical impulses as they follow the nurse pathways along the frontal plane of the heart.  Remember that the objective of taking a 12-lead EKG is to be able to “look at the heart” from different angles.  You get a different “view” of the heart from the various leads that are used.

In the first chapters of this course we learned how to interpret the EKG and to detect he various arrhythmias.  These earlier chapters were all focusing on Lead II. The 12-lead EKG gives more detailed record of the heart’s electrical activity from many different angles.  As we stared earlier, this chapter is just an introduction to the 12-lead EKG. You will need to take a more advanced course in EKG in order to interpret the results of an EKG tracing in all 12 leads. 

We hope you have enjoyed this course and gained a practical knowledge of interpreting the EKG.  We have presented a number of different samples of EKG tracings so you may practice on various types of tracings, not just one.  When you first start to interpret EKG tracings, remember to follow the steps we listed in the previous chapter.  Practice on strips you might find on your job. Go to your ICU and ask for sample strips to practice. The nurses and doctors there might even help you interpret them.  Once you become more skilled, it will become easier to recognize arrhythmias without going through all the steps but as a beginner, you will want to carefully follow all the steps to be sure you don't overlook the dangerous arrhythmias. Remember to practice as much as possible and use other references for the more completed EKG tracings. 

Next References