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Making sense of the paediatric ECG
  1. Michael Harris1,
  2. Chris Oakley2,
  3. Mohammad Ryan Abumehdi1
  1. 1 Paediatric Cardiology, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2 Paediatric Cardiology, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael Harris, Paediatric Cardiology, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham B4 6NH, UK; michael.harris2{at}

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In 1901, building on the earlier work of Matteuci and Waller, Einthoven created the first string galvanometer and assigned letters to each specific deflection.1 This was the birth of the ECG as we know it. Since that time, our understanding of the specifics of the ECG waveforms and their connotations for specific diseases has grown exponentially.

Even in paediatrics, this non-invasive test can yield a plethora of information and is a key diagnostic tool, but its interpretation can be daunting to the non-expert. We have written a sequence of articles using a stepwise method for interpreting ECGs. We apply this method to some common ECG findings, with the aim being to improve the confidence of clinicians in interpretation of the paediatric ECG.

The stepwise checklist (figure 1) consists of a series of questions posed in a way that should highlight specific abnormalities. This checklist will be used in subsequent articles, demonstrating its application to real life examples.

Figure 1

ECG interpretation checklist. LVH, left ventricular hypertrophy; RVH, right ventricular hypertophy.

Checklist explanation

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  • Contributors All three authors have contributed to writing this article and it was overseen by MH.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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