Advanced Life Support (ALS) Level 3 (VTQ)

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Preparation of a 12 lead diagnostic ECG

Video 38 of 117
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Conducting a 12-Lead ECG for Patient Assessment


In this section, we will explore the process of conducting a 12-lead ECG as a vital part of our ongoing patient assessment. This diagnostic procedure plays a crucial role in identifying the underlying causes of cardiac arrest.

The Science Behind 12-Lead ECG

Understanding the intricacies of a 12-lead ECG is essential as it deals with minute electrical signals generated by the heart. These electrical patterns form electromagnetic fields around the body, and our goal is to capture and analyze these signals through specialized electrodes.

Key Point: ECG readings involve extremely low millivolt electrical signals.

Electrodes and Preparation

To ensure accurate ECG results, proper equipment and patient preparation are crucial. Special electrodes are used in this procedure, and their conductive gel can dry out over time. It's vital to check the electrodes' use-by date and confirm the presence of conductive gel before use.

Important: Using expired or dried-out electrodes can compromise the quality of the ECG.

Using 10 Leads for 12 Views

We utilize a set of 10 leads to obtain 12 distinct views of the heart. The initial step involves attaching limb leads, one for each limb of the patient. Proper placement of these leads is essential to prevent discomfort or bruising during the procedure.

Tip: It's advisable to connect the leads to the electrodes before applying them to the patient's skin to ensure comfort and avoid any potential issues.

Patient Consent

Before commencing the ECG, obtaining the patient's consent is a necessary step, just like with any other medical procedure. It's essential to explain the process and secure the patient's agreement.


Medical Professional: Hello, sir.

Patient: Hello.

Medical Professional: Is it okay to do an ECG? It will mean connecting some electrodes to your arms and legs and across your chest.

Patient: Yep, no problem.

Medical Professional: Okay. Thank you.