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Clinical Articles, News & Views

Book review

ECG interpretation for everyone: an on-the spot guide

Authors: Kusumoto F, Bernath P
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, UK, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-470655566
Price: £22.50

This is quite a chunky and comprehensive volume of 14 chapters with all you need to know about a very complicated but very widely used diagnostic procedure. The three opening chapters describe the technical aspects of ECG, cardiac anatomy and the different aspects of the classic PQRST ‘squiggle’. The remaining chapters deal with abnormalities: four on repolarisation of the wall of the heart, two on depolarisation, and four on the various arrhythmias (AF, bradycardia and tachycardia). The book concludes with a chapter on the ECG in exercise stress testing on a treadmill, and another on clinical problems such as variation in heart rate and in chest pain.

Screen shot 2012-06-08 at 10.24.53
The good things about the book in general and each chapter in specific are the frequent use of figures and diagrams to illustrate particular points. A good example of this is the classic ST elevation which is often present after a myocardial infarction, and the book gives examples of this pattern where there is no infarction. However, although in many cases which one of the 12 leads that provide a particular ECG trace is named, that are numerous cases where this crucial information is not provided, leaving the reader completely in the dark about which lead is being referred to.

A second problem is the physical form of the book – the loose wire ring binding is good in that it enables the rapid access of particular pages, but the downside is that this may not be sufficiently robust for an active practitioner. I also feel that there is a great deal of information in the book that the active practitioner at the bedside or in the emergency room will not have time for – the text has both good practical guidance on different commonly found ECG patterns alongside in depth ‘academic’ explanations of rare pathophysiological changes in various conditions.

There may of course be some differences from practice in the USA (the home of the Authors) and the UK, but where present these are relatively minor. Those who will benefit from this book will be undergraduate and postgraduate practitioners (physician, nursing, electrophysiologist) in cardiology, most likely in a hospital, and as such enters a reasonably crowded market place with several competitors.

Andrew Blann
Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Medicine

Published on: June 25, 2012

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