Using the 12-lead ECG to assess acute coronary patients

Gregory, Joanne (2005) Using the 12-lead ECG to assess acute coronary patients. British Journal of Nursing, 14(21), pp. 1135-1140. ISSN (print) 0966-0461


Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) are characterized by the rupture of unstable plaque within coronary arteries. Depending on the extent of the ensuing occlusion and myocardial damage, ACS can be classified as unstable angina, non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (MI) and ST elevation MI. The electrocardiogram (ECG) is an invaluable tool in the assessment of patients with ACS. It provides evidence for the location of myocardial ischaemia, injury and infarction and is a crucial factor in the decision to administer thrombolytic agents and other management strategies. The 12-lead ECG is limited to a view of the left ventricle, however it can be extended to provide additional information about the right ventricular and posterior walls. Critical care nurses with ECG skills can contribute to the early detection and management of patients with ACS.

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