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Abbott Clinical Research

ECG (Electrocardiogram)

An Electrocardiogram is a test that records the electrical activity of your heart.  The primary function of the ECG is to detect possible cardiac arrhythmias like irregular heartbeat or heart murmurs. 


A typical ECG machine will have 10 leads which are connected to the body using sticky tabs or suction cup looking pads.  6 leads go on your chest and are known as V1 through V6.  RA goes on your right arm and LA goes on your left arm.  For RL and LL, some clinics will place them on the lower legs while others will place them on the lower stomach area.  They both seem to work the same, so it is the preference of the clinic.  Most times you will lay or supine as it is known in the industry for a period of time like 5 or 10 minutes in order to get a 'resting' reading.  The technician will punch in your info like your birthday and initials so they can identify your ECG later on.  The actual reading only takes a second and then they will print out a copy and your all done.  Make sure you take off your sticky tabs or pads right away to reduce chance of redness or rash at pad site. 


Lead placement for arms and legs

Image from Wikipedia


Lead placements for chest

Image from Wikipedia


I'm not going to go into how to read the ECG, rather I'll point you to a great source of information. 

Wikipedia - Electrocardiogram


It should be noted that all clinics have licensed doctors who will read and determine the results of your ECG.  If there is a problem, they will inform you and you may follow up with your own physician.  If you do have irregular readings, you may be excluded or even prohibited from participating in future studies.  This is a safety measure to keep you safe. 





Abbott Clinical Research


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