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ElectrocardiographyThe EKG technician curriculum module provides an overview of how to conduct a routine 12-lead ECG and recognize related diagnostic cardiac tests. Students examine the anatomy of the heart and the electrical conduction pattern for the cardiac cycle. Then they classify leads and learn how ECG's work.

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Phase 1: Explore


Activity: Use and Care of Equipment

In this activity, students explore the proper use and care of ECG equipment, their role in diagnosing illness and what an electrocardiogram measures.

Phase 2: Learn & Practice


Unit 1: Anatomy and the ECG

In this unit, students will learn about: electrocardiogram measurements as they identify the anatomy of the heart and explain how the heart pumps blood to the body, describe the conduction pattern of the heart, explain how the cardiac cycle and ECG cycle are related, and identify the waves in a typical ECG cycle. Students will also learn how to recognize a cardiac emergency.

  1. ECG's and the Heart 
  2. Heartbeat and the ECG Cycle
  3. Recognizing Cardiac Emergencies
  4. Quiz

Unit 2: The Science of the ECG

In this unit, students will learn about: how an ECG machine works, the role of an ECG in diagnosing illness, and why it may be performed. They will learn how the ECG machine records impulses, identify leads in a standard ECG, explain how leads and electrodes are related, define Einthoven's triangle, and recognize lead codes. 

  1. How ECG's Work 
  2. ECG Leads 
  3. Quiz

Unit 3: Performing a Standard Resting ECG

In this unit, students will learn about: performing standard ECG's, as they compare single-channel and multi-channel ECG's and manual and automatic ECG's. They learn the purpose of an ECG mount, how the line is created on tracing paper, describe the graph lines, and compare normal standardization to one-half and double standardization. They learn to adjust the position and heat of the stylus and when to use different paper speeds. They define and list types of artifacts and identify the source of and explore ways to avoid artifacts. They learn how to prepare the patient, room and equipment for a standard ECG, how to operate the ECG machine, and how to mount the tracing. 

  1. Types of ECG's 
  2. Standardization 
  3. Artifacts 
  4. Automatic 12-Lead ECG 
  5. Quiz

Unit 4: Using ECG Recordings

In this unit, students will learn about: how to read an ECG tracing, as they define normal sinus rhythm, identify types of arrhythmias, recognize and know how to respond to abnormal heart rate, and understand how to calculate the heart rate shown on a tracing. 

  1. Arrhythmias 
  2. Calculating Heart Rate 
  3. Quiz

Unit 5: Other Cardiac Tests and Equipment

In this unit, students will learn about: other cardiac tests used to diagnose illness, including a stress tests and Holter monitors. They learn placement for monitor electrodes and how to apply a Holter monitor. 

  1. Related Diagnostic Cardiac Tests 
  2. Holter Monitoring 
  3. Quiz

Unit 6: Communication Exercise

In this exercise, students will observe a scenario involving communication between health care workers. After each scenario ending, students will answer questions to check their understanding. 

  1. Communication Exercise 

Unit 7: ECG Technician Game

In this simulation game, students will practice reading ECG strips. 

Phase 3: Reflect


Activity: Reflection Questions and Discussion

In this activity, students will journal about related equipment, relieving patient anxiety, the assistant's role, and ways to avoid artifacts during an ECG. A class discussion on these topics can follow.

Phase 4: Reinforce


Project: Healthy Heart Poster

In this project, students work individually to identify at-risk behaviors and then create posters that persuade others to keep their hearts healthy.

Activity: Patient Care Scenarios

In this activity, students practice procedures learned in the module using various scenarios -- sometimes in less-than-ideal circumstances.

Activity: Current Event

Students will review articles for information related to a topic in the module. Once an article is found, students complete a Current Event form

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