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Electrocardiography 

Electrocardiography
Chapter:
Electrocardiography
Author(s):

Andrew R. Houghton

, and David Gray

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0342
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date: 25 February 2021

The electrocardiograph (ECG) has been recognized as a valuable diagnostic tool since the end of the 19th century. The normal ECG waveform consists of P, QRS, and T waves (and sometimes U waves)—P waves result from atrial depolarization, QRS complexes from ventricular depolarization, and T waves from ventricular repolarization. The standard 12-lead ECG utilizes four limb electrodes and six precordial electrodes to generate 12 leads or ‘views’ of the heart’s electrical activity. There are six limb leads (termed I, II, III, aVR, aVL, and aVF) and six precordial leads (termed V1, V2, V3, V4, V5, and V6). Supplementary ‘views’ can be obtained by using additional leads, such as V7, V8, and V9 to assess the posterior aspect of the heart and right-sided chest leads to look for a right ventricular myocardial infarction.

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