EKG Technician Training
EKG technicians specialize in performing electrocardiographs (EKGs). These types of technicians are also known as cardiographic technicians. EKGs measure, through skin electrodes attached to the body, electrical impulses that are produced by the heart. This type of heart stress testing uses Holter monitors which are designed to capture the heart's impulses. Those who want to learn how to become an EKG technician typically study heart rhythms and how to properly utilize the equipment in order to get accurate measurements. Those readings can then be used by physicians to inform a diagnosis.
The Core Training for EKG Technicians
Virtually all education about EKGs consists of building foundational knowledge in cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, combined with a thorough understanding of the techniques and instrumentation involved in basic EKG monitoring, stress testing, and Holter monitoring. Below is a general explanation of what you can expect to learn during your EKG studies.
Basic Cardiovascular Anatomy & Physiology
Studies typically focus on learning all about the heart, including size, location, layers, chambers, valve function, blood flow, arteries, veins, capillaries, arterioles and pressure systems. Education programs also typically look at the relationship between heart output rates and strokes as well as the entire cardiac cycle.
Topics covered in EKG programs typically cover:
- Measuring and analyzing waveforms and EKG measurements
- Understanding different instrument calibration methods
- Knowing the difference between a single- and three-channel EKG
- Troubleshooting problems that arise during the EKG process
And by the end of a study program, students should also have a good understanding of the principles of:
- Lead placement
- Electrical interferences
- Electrical shock risks
Stress Testing Techniques and Protocols
EKG programs should include teaching you about stress testing, how to recognize recording errors commonly encountered and patient electrical safety hazards. An important aspect of your studies should also help you to learn how to interpret cardiac arrhythmias -- abnormal electrical activity in the heart. For example, when the heart may be pumping too slow or fast, or other kinds of irregularity.
What is a Holter monitor for EKG?
A Holter monitor, usually simply referred to as a "holter" is a device that monitors electrical currents for 24 to 48 hours. Holters are most commonly used in EKG procedures, but can also be used for monitoring brain activity. The Holter records electrical signals from the heart through the electrodes, which are attached to the chest and sometimes other areas of the body. The information is then stored digitally so the physician can review the findings.
What Does an EKG Measure?
EKGs are an invaluable tool for measuring and diagnosing abnormal heart rhythms and can detect problems associated with damage done to tissues that create electrical signals. They can also determine if the heart is pumping properly or has been damaged by previous heart attacks. EKGs are also used to help identify abnormal heart rhythms, electrolyte irregularities and more. EKGs are routinely done before and after surgical procedures involving the heart as well to ensure all is working normally.
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