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Troubleshooting ECG Problems

■ Place leads in the correct position. Incorrect placement can give false readings.
■ Avoid placing leads over bony areas.
■ In patients with large breasts, place the electrodes under the breast. Accurate tracings are obtained through the least amount of fat tissue.
■ Apply tincture of benzoin to the electrode sites if the patient is diaphoretic. The electrodes will adhere to the skin better.
■ Shave hair at the electrode site if it interferes with contact between the electrode and skin.
■ Discard old electrodes and use new ones if the gel on the back of the electrode dries.

Cable Connections

It is important to know if you are using an American or European cable for ECG monitoring. The colors of the wires differ as shown below.

Patient Cable

Monitoring cables contain varying numbers of wires.
3- and 4-wire cables: Allow a choice of limb and augmented leads.
5-wire cable: Allows a choice of limb and augmented leads plus a chest lead.
10-wire cable: Records a 12-lead ECG.

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