6 Pieces of Advice for Reading EKGs

We are back this month with 6 new pieces of advice for reading EKGs from Jennifer Carlquist, PA-C, and course director of The Urgent Care EKG Course.

  1. When you have a patient with chest pain, it is important that you consider the Big 5. These are the things that you can’t miss: AAA, PE, Pneumothorax, AMI, and Pericarditis.
  2. When evaluating someone with dyspnea, don’t forget to examine their legs. Unilateral swelling can be caused by a DVT and the dyspnea could be a PE, while bilateral swelling suggests CHF as a possibility.
  3. If your patient has unilateral leg swelling, you should also look at their EKG for a s1q3t3. Although rare, this finding may support a diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (PE). It does not always mean there is PE, but you should document the presence or absence of it.
  4. If you know that your patient needs to go to the ER, it can be helpful to tell them why you are worried. Be specific. If they have chest pain, tell them that even if their EKG is normal, they can still have coronary artery occlusions that are significant.
  5. When you have someone who is weak or fatigued, consider these diagnoses when looking (this list is not all inclusive): PE, ACS, bradycardia, AFib, Atrial flutter, pauses.
  6. If someone is experiencing palpitations, look closely at their EKG for delta waves. If present, they could have WPW. This diagnosis is treatable, and they should be sent to see an electrophysiologist.

This course is ideal for PAs and NPs practicing in urgent care. Whether you’re new to practice or have many years of experience, you’re sure to learn practical, evidence-based tips you can use on your next shift. You can sharpen your EKG interpretation skills, improve your accuracy, become more proficient, and boost your clinical confidence with The Urgent Care EKG Course.

Visit https://www.ebmedicine.net/ekg to learn more.

Even more content:

Check out one of our latest reels (less than one minute!) on QT Intervals from Jennifer Carlquist, the course director.

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Last Updated on October 26, 2023

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