An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG, abbreviated from the German Elektrokardiogramm) is a graphic produced by an electrocardiograph, which records the electrical activity of the heart over time. The heart is a muscular organ in all Vertebrates responsible for pumping Blood through the Blood vessels by repeated rhythmic Its name is made of different parts: electro, because it is related to electrical activity, cardio, Greek for heart, gram, a Greek root meaning "to write". Greek (el ελληνική γλώσσα or simply el ελληνικά — "Hellenic" is an Indo-European language, spoken today by 15-22 million people mainly The abbreviation "EKG" is preferred over the more straightforward "ECG" in oral communication, because the latter may be misheard as EEG.
Electrical waves cause the heart muscle to pump. These waves pass through the body and can be measured at electrodes (electrical contacts) attached to the skin. An electrode is an Electrical conductor used to make contact with a nonmetallic part of a circuit (e Electrodes on different sides of the heart measure the activity of different parts of the heart muscle. An ECG displays the voltage between pairs of these electrodes, and the muscle activity that they measure, from different directions. This display indicates the overall rhythm of the heart, and weaknesses in different parts of the heart muscle. It is the best way to measure and diagnose abnormal rhythms of the heart, particularly abnormal rhythms caused by damage to the conductive tissue that carries electrical signals, or abnormal rhythms caused by levels of dissolved salts (electrolytes), such as potassium, that are too high or low.  In myocardial infarction (MI), the ECG can identify damaged heart muscle. Myocardial infarction ( MI or AMI for acute myocardial infarction) also known as a heart attack, occurs when the blood supply But it can only identify damage to muscle in certain areas, so it can't rule out damage in other areas.  The ECG cannot reliably measure the pumping ability of the heart; ultrasound is used for that.
Alexander Muirhead attached wires to a feverish patient's wrist to obtain a record of the patient's heartbeat while studying for his Doctor of Science (in electricity) in 1872 at St Bartholomew's Hospital. Alexander Muirhead, FRS, (1848-1920 born in East Saltoun, East Lothian, Scotland was an Electrical engineer specialising in DSc ScD SD, or DrSc are common abbreviations for the Latin Scientiæ Doctor, meaning Doctor of Science. St Bartholomew's Hospital, also known as Barts, is a hospital in Smithfield in the City of London, England.  This activity was directly recorded and visualized using a Lippmann capillary electrometer by the British physiologist John Burdon Sanderson. A Lippmann electrometer is a device for detecting small rushes of Electric current.  The first to systematically approach the heart from an electrical point-of-view was Augustus Waller, working in St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London. Augustus Desiré Waller FRS ( 18 July 1856 - 11 March 1922) was a British Scientist and the son of Augustus St Mary's Hospital is a Hospital located in Paddington, London, England. Paddington is an area of the City of Westminster, in Central London, England. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom.  His electrocardiograph machine consisted of a Lippmann capillary electrometer fixed to a projector. The trace from the heartbeat was projected onto a photographic plate which was itself fixed to a toy train. This allowed a heartbeat to be recorded in real time. In 1911 he still saw little clinical application for his work.
The breakthrough came when Willem Einthoven, working in Leiden, The Netherlands, used the string galvanometer which he invented in 1901, which was much more sensitive than the capillary electrometer that Waller used. Willem Einthoven ( Semarang, May 21, 1860 &ndash Leiden, September 29, 1927) was a Dutch doctor and physiologist "Leyden" redirects here For other uses see Leyden (disambiguation. The Netherlands ( Dutch:, ˈnedərlɑnt is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands the Netherlands The String galvanometer was one of the earliest instruments capable of detecting and recording the very small electrical currents produced by the human Heart and provided 
Einthoven assigned the letters P, Q, R, S and T to the various deflections, and described the electrocardiographic features of a number of cardiovascular disorders. In 1924, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (Nobelpriset i fysiologi eller medicin is awarded once a year by the Swedish Karolinska Institute. 
Though the basic principles of that era are still in use today, there have been many advances in electrocardiography over the years. The instrumentation, for example, has evolved from a cumbersome laboratory apparatus to compact electronic systems that often include computerized interpretation of the electrocardiogram. 
A typical electrocardiograph runs at a paper speed of 25 mm/s, although faster paper speeds are occasionally used. Each small block of ECG paper is 1 mm². At a paper speed of 25 mm/s, one small block of ECG paper translates into 0. 04 s (or 40 ms). Five small blocks make up 1 large block, which translates into 0. 20 s (or 200 ms). Hence, there are 5 large blocks per second. A diagnostic quality 12 lead ECG is calibrated at 10 mm/mV, so 1 mm translates into 0. 1 mV. A calibration signal should be included with every record. Calibration is the process of establishing the relationship between a measuring device and the units of measure A standard signal of 1 mV must move the stylus vertically 1 cm, that is two large squares on ECG paper.
Modern ECG monitors offer multiple filters for signal processing. The most common settings are monitor mode and diagnostic mode. In monitor mode, the low frequency filter (also called the high-pass filter because signals above the threshold are allowed to pass) is set at either 0. 5 Hz or 1 Hz and the high frequency filter (also called the low-pass filter because signals below the threshold are allowed to pass) is set at 40 Hz. This limits artifact for routine cardiac rhythm monitoring. The high-pass filter helps reduce wandering baseline and the low pass filter helps reduce 50 or 60 Hz power line noise (the power line network frequency differs between 50 and 60 Hz in different countries). This article includes a list of countries and territories with the plugs voltages and frequencies they use for providing electrical power to Small appliances In diagnostic mode, the high pass filter is set at 0. 05 Hz, which allows accurate ST segments to be recorded. The low pass filter is set to 40, 100, or 150 Hz. Consequently, the monitor mode ECG display is more filtered than diagnostic mode, because its bandpass is narrower. 
The word lead has two meanings in electrocardiography: it refers to either the wire that connects an electrode to the electrocardiograph, or (more commonly) to a combination of electrodes that form an imaginary line in the body along which the electrical signals are measured. Thus, the term loose lead artifact uses the former meaning, while the term 12 lead ECG uses the latter. In Electronics, a lead has two meanings An electrical connection consisting of a length of wire or soldering pad ( smd) that comes from a device In fact, a 12 lead electrocardiograph usually only uses 10 wires/electrodes. The latter definition of lead is the one used here.
An electrocardiogram is obtained by measuring electrical potential between various points of the body using a biomedical instrumentation amplifier. At a point in space the electric potential is the Potential energy per unit of charge that is associated with a static (time-invariant Electric field An instrumentation (or instrumentational) amplifier is a type of Differential amplifier that has been outfitted with input buffers which eliminate A lead records the electrical signals of the heart from a particular combination of recording electrodes which are placed at specific points on the patient's body.
There are two types of leads—unipolar and bipolar. The former have an indifferent electrode at the center of the Einthoven’s triangle (which can be likened to the ‘neutral’ of a wall socket) at zero potential. The direction of these leads is from the “center” of the heart radially outward. These include the precordial (chest) leads and augmented limb leads—VR, VL, & VF. The bipolar type, in contrast, has both electrodes at some potential, with the direction of the corresponding lead being from the electrode at lower potential to the one at higher potential, e. g. , in limb lead I, the direction is from left to right. These include the limb leads—I, II, and III.
Note that the colouring scheme for leads varies by country.
Leads I, II and III are the so-called limb leads because at one time, the subjects of electrocardiography had to literally place their arms and legs in buckets of salt water in order to obtain signals for Einthoven's string galvanometer. Willem Einthoven ( Semarang, May 21, 1860 &ndash Leiden, September 29, 1927) was a Dutch doctor and physiologist The String galvanometer was one of the earliest instruments capable of detecting and recording the very small electrical currents produced by the human Heart and provided They form the basis of what is known as Einthoven's triangle.  Eventually, electrodes were invented that could be placed directly on the patient's skin. Even though the buckets of salt water are no longer necessary, the electrodes are still placed on the patient's arms and legs to approximate the signals obtained with the buckets of salt water. They remain the first three leads of the modern 12 lead ECG.
Leads aVR, aVL, and aVF are augmented limb leads. They are derived from the same three electrodes as leads I, II, and III. However, they view the heart from different angles (or vectors) because the negative electrode for these leads is a modification of Wilson's central terminal, which is derived by adding leads I, II, and III together and plugging them into the negative terminal of the EKG machine. This zeroes out the negative electrode and allows the positive electrode to become the "exploring electrode" or a unipolar lead. This is possible because Einthoven's Law states that I + (-II) + III = 0. The equation can also be written I + III = II. It is written this way (instead of I + II + III = 0) because Einthoven reversed the polarity of lead II in Einthoven's triangle, possibly because he liked to view upright QRS complexes. Wilson's central terminal paved the way for the development of the augmented limb leads aVR, aVL, aVF and the precordial leads V1, V2, V3, V4, V5, and V6.
The augmented limb leads aVR, aVL, and aVF are amplified in this way because the signal is too small to be useful when the negative electrode is Wilson's central terminal. Together with leads I, II, and III, augmented limb leads aVR, aVL, and aVF form the basis of the hexaxial reference system, which is used to calculate the heart's electrical axis in the frontal plane. The hexaxial reference system is diagram based on the first six leads of the 12 lead ECG.
The precordial leads V1, V2, V3, V4, V5, and V6 are placed directly on the chest. Because of their close proximity to the heart, they do not require augmentation. Wilson's central terminal is used for the negative electrode, and these leads are considered to be unipolar. The precordial leads view the heart's electrical activity in the so-called horizontal plane. The heart's electrical axis in the horizontal plane is referred to as the Z axis.
Leads V1, V2, and V3 are referred to as the right precordial leads and V4, V5, and V6 are referred to as the left precordial leads.
The QRT complex should be negative in lead V1 and positive in lead V6. The QRT complex should show a gradual transition from negative to positive between leads V2 and V4. The equiphasic lead is referred to as the transition lead. When the transition occurs earlier than lead V3, it is referred to as an early transition. When it occurs later than lead V3, it is referred to as a late transition. There should also be a gradual increase in the amplitude of the R wave between leads V1 and V4. This is known as R wave progression. Poor R wave progression is a nonspecific finding. It can be caused by conduction abnormalities, myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, and other pathological conditions.
An additional electrode (usually green) is present in modern four-lead and twelve-lead ECGs. This is the ground lead and is ewed, the remaining lead becomes the ground lead by default.
A typical ECG tracing of a normal heartbeat (or cardiac cycle) consists of a P wave, a QRS complex and a T wave. A small U wave is normally visible in 50 to 75% of ECGs. The baseline voltage of the electrocardiogram is known as the isoelectric line. Typically the isoelectric line is measured as the portion of the tracing following the T wave and preceding the next P wave.
There are some basic rules that can be followed to identify a patient's heart rhythm. What is the rate? Is it regular or irregular? Are P waves present? Are QRS complexes present? Is there a 1:1 ratio between P waves and QRS complexes? Is the PR interval constant?
During normal atrial depolarization, the main electrical vector is directed from the SA node towards the AV node, and spreads from the right atrium to the left atrium. In Anatomy, the atrium (plural atria) refers to a chamber or space In Anatomy, the atrium (plural atria) refers to a chamber or space This turns into the P wave on the ECG, which is upright in II, III, and aVF (since the general electrical activity is going toward the positive electrode in those leads), and inverted in aVR (since it is going away from the positive electrode for that lead). A P wave must be upright in leads II and aVF and inverted in lead aVR to designate a cardiac rhythm as Sinus Rhythm.
The PR interval is measured from the beginning of the P wave to the beginning of the QRS complex. It is usually 120 to 200 ms long. On an ECG tracing, this corresponds to 3 to 5 small boxes. In case a Q wave was measured with a ECG the PR interval is also commonly named PQ interval instead.
The QRS complex is a structure on the ECG that corresponds to the depolarization of the ventricles. The normal electrical conduction in the heart allows the impulse that is generated by the Sinoatrial node (SA node of the Heart to be propagated to (and stimulate the Because the ventricles contain more muscle mass than the atria, the QRS complex is larger than the P wave. In addition, because the His/Purkinje system coordinates the depolarization of the ventricles, the QRS complex tends to look "spiked" rather than rounded due to the increase in conduction velocity. A normal QRS complex is 0. 06 to 0. 10 sec (60 to 100 ms) in duration represented by three small squares or less, but any abnormality of conduction takes longer, and causes widened QRS complexes.
Not every QRS complex contains a Q wave, an R wave, and an S wave. By convention, any combination of these waves can be referred to as a QRS complex. However, correct interpretation of difficult ECGs requires exact labeling of the various waves. Some authors use lowercase and capital letters, depending on the relative size of each wave. For example, an Rs complex would be positively deflected, while a rS complex would be negatively deflected. If both complexes were labeled RS, it would be impossible to appreciate this distinction without viewing the actual ECG.
The ST segment connects the QRS complex and the T wave and has a duration of 0. Myocardial infarction ( MI or AMI for acute myocardial infarction) also known as a heart attack, occurs when the blood supply 08 to 0. 12 sec (80 to 120 ms). It starts at the J point (junction between the QRS complex and RT segment) and ends at the beginning of the T wave. However, since it is usually difficult to determine exactly where the ST segment ends and the T wave begins, the relationship between the RT segment and T wave should be examined together. The typical ST segment duration is usually around 0. 08 sec (80 ms). It should be essentially level with the PR and TP segment.
* The normal RT segment has a slight upward concavity. * Flat, downsloping, or depressed ST segments may indicate coronary ischemia.
The T wave represents the repolarization (or recovery) of the ventricles. The interval from the beginning of the QRS complex to the apex of the T wave is referred to as the absolute refractory period. The last half of the T wave is referred to as the relative refractory period (or vulnerable period).
In most leads, the T wave is positive. However, a negative T wave is normal in lead aVR. Lead V1 may have a positive, negative, or biphasic T wave. In addition, it is not uncommon to have an isolated negative T wave in lead III, aVL, or aVF.
The QT interval is measured from the beginning of the QRS complex to the end of the T wave. In medicine specifically Cardiology, the QT interval is a measure of the time between the start of the Q wave and the end of the T wave in the heart's In medicine specifically Cardiology, the QT interval is a measure of the time between the start of the Q wave and the end of the T wave in the heart's Normal values for the QT interval are between 0. 30 and 0. 44 (0. 45 for women) seconds. The QT interval as well as the corrected QT interval are important in the diagnosis of long QT syndrome and short QT syndrome. The long QT syndrome ( LQTS) is a Heart condition associated with prolongation of repolarization (recovery following depolarization (excitation of the cardiac Short QT syndrome is a genetic disease of the electrical system of the Heart. The QT interval varies based on the heart rate, and various correction factors have been developed to correct the QT interval for the heart rate. The QT interval represents on an ECG the total time needed for the the ventricles to depolarize and repolarize.
The most commonly used method for correcting the QT interval for rate is the one formulated by Bazett and published in 1920. Year 1920 ( MCMXX) was a Leap year starting on Thursday (link will display 1920 of the Gregorian calendar  Bazett's formula is , where QTc is the QT interval corrected for rate, and RR is the interval from the onset of one QRS complex to the onset of the next QRS complex, measured in seconds. In medicine specifically Cardiology, the QT interval is a measure of the time between the start of the Q wave and the end of the T wave in the heart's However, this formula tends to be inaccurate, and over-corrects at high heart rates and under-corrects at low heart rates.
The U wave is not always seen. It is typically small, and, by definition, follows the T wave. U waves are thought to represent repolarization of the papillary muscles or Purkinje fibers. In Anatomy, the papillary muscles of the Heart serve to limit the movements of the mitral and Tricuspid valves These muscles contract to tighten For the nervous cells see Purkinje cell Purkinje fibers (or Purkyne tissue are located in the inner ventricular walls of the Heart, just Prominent U waves are most often seen in hypokalemia, but may be present in hypercalcemia, thyrotoxicosis, or exposure to digitalis, epinephrine, and Class 1A and 3 antiarrhythmics, as well as in congenital long QT syndrome and in the setting of intracranial hemorrhage. Hypokalemia refers to the condition in which the concentration of Potassium in the blood is low Hypercalcaemia (in American English '''Hypercalcemia''' is an elevated calcium level in the Blood. Hyperthyroidism is the term for overactive tissue within the Thyroid gland resulting in overproduction and thus an excess of circulating free thyroid hormones Thyroxine Antiarrhythmic agents are a group of Pharmaceuticals that are used to suppress fast rhythms of the Heart ( Cardiac arrhythmias) such as Atrial fibrillation The long QT syndrome ( LQTS) is a Heart condition associated with prolongation of repolarization (recovery following depolarization (excitation of the cardiac An inverted U wave may represent myocardial ischemia or left ventricular volume overload. 
There are twelve leads in total, each recording the electrical activity of the heart from a different perspective, which also correlate to different anatomical areas of the heart for the purpose of identifying acute coronary ischemia or injury. Myocardial infarction ( MI or AMI for acute myocardial infarction) also known as a heart attack, occurs when the blood supply Two leads that look at the same anatomical area of the heart are said to be contiguous (see color coded chart).
The heart's electrical axis refers to the general direction of the heart's depolarization wavefront (or mean electrical vector) in the frontal plane. It is usually oriented in a right shoulder to left leg direction, which corresponds to the left inferior quadrant of the hexaxial reference system, although -30o to +90o is considered to be normal. The hexaxial reference system is diagram based on the first six leads of the 12 lead ECG.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) heterogeneity is a measurement of the amount of variance between one ECG waveform and the next. In Probability theory and Statistics, the variance of a Random variable, Probability distribution, or sample is one measure of waveformogg|right|a sine square and sawtooth wave at 440 hz]] Waveform means the shape and form of a signal such as a Wave moving in a solid liquid or gaseous This heterogeneity can be measured by placing multiple ECG electrodes on the chest and by then computing the variance in waveform morphology across the signals obtained from these electrodes. Heterogeneous is an adjective used to describe an object or system consisting of multiple items having a large number of structural variations An electrode is an Electrical conductor used to make contact with a nonmetallic part of a circuit (e The shape ( OE sceap Eng created thing) of an object located in some space refers to the part of space occupied by the object as determined Recent research suggests that ECG heterogeneity often precedes dangerous cardiac arrhythmias
There are over 350,000 cases of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the United States each year, and over twenty percent of these cases involve people with no outward signs of serious heart disease. Dysrhythmia redirects here For the American band see Dysrhythmia (band. The term sudden cardiac death refers to Natural death from cardiac causes heralded by abrupt loss of Consciousness within one hour of the onset of acute symptoms The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Heart disease is an Umbrella term for a variety for different diseases affecting the Heart. For decades, researchers have been attempting to come up with methods of identifying electrocardiogram (ECG) patterns that reliably precede dangerous arrhythmias. As these methods are found, devices are being created that monitor the heart in order to detect the onset of dangerous rhythms and to correct them before they cause death.
Research being conducted suggests that a crescendo in ECG heterogeneity, both in the R-wave and the T-wave, often signals the start of ventricular fibrillation. Electromagnetic waves sent at terahertz frequencies, known as terahertz radiation, submillimeter radiation, terahertz waves, terahertz Ventricular fibrillation ( V-fib or VF) is a condition in which there is uncoordinated contraction of the Cardiac muscle of the ventricles in the In patients with coronary artery disease, exercise increases T-wave heterogeneity, but this effect is not seen in normal patients. Coronary artery disease (CAD (or atherosclerotic Heart disease) is the end result of the accumulation of atheromatous plaques within the walls These results, when combined with other pieces of emerging evidence, suggest that R-wave and T-wave heterogeneity both have predictive value.
In the future, researchers hope to automate the process of heterogeneity detection and to augment the clinical evidence supporting the validity of ECG heterogeneity as a predictor of arrhythmia. Someday soon, implantable devices may be programmed to measure and track heterogeneity. These devices could potentially help ward off arrhythmias by stimulating nerves such as the vagus nerve, by delivering drugs such as beta-blockers, and if necessary, by defibrillating the heart. The vagus nerve (ˈveɪˌgəs (VĀ-gəs (also called pneumogastric nerve or cranial nerve X) is the tenth of twelve paired Cranial nerves, and is the Beta blockers (sometimes written as β-blocker) are a class of drugs used for various indications but particularly for the management of Cardiac arrhythmias