How to perform an ECG animated demonstration

Equipment needed

  • ECG machine

  • Electrode stickers

  • ECG leads

  • Cleaning wipes and razor if needed.

Where possible, ECG recording should take place in a comfortable and calm environment to reduce the patient’s anxiety, stress, and movement that may otherwise distort the results.


There are no specific clinical contraindications to ECG recording. Patient agitation, confusion, tremor, or movement disorders will make accurate ECG recording difficult, but not impossible.

As with any procedure, do not perform an ECG if the patient has capacity to consent and refuses.


  • Routine health screening/preoperative assessment

  • Chest pain/ischaemic heart disease

  • Murmurs/valvular heart disease

  • Heart failure

  • Hypoxia/hypercapnia

  • Dyspnoea

  • Palpitations

  • Syncope/pre-syncope

  • Drug toxicity/overdose

  • Electrolyte or acid-base abnormalities

  • Anaemia

  • Trauma

  • Sepsis

  • Coma.


Rarely, a reaction to the electrode adhesive may cause redness or swelling where the patches were placed.


Label the ECG correctly with the patient’s name, date of birth, current date, and time of day. Interpretation of the ECG requires specific training and skill and as such is not dealt with in this demonstration.

It is important that someone with the requisite knowledge reviews the ECG promptly; seek a specialist opinion from a cardiologist where necessary. Any delay in recognising significant changes on the ECG could be detrimental to the patient, particularly in an acute setting (e.g., with suspected myocardial infarction).