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Cardiology Teaching Package

A Beginners Guide to Normal Heart Function, Sinus Rhythm & Common Cardiac Arrhythmias


Artefact is the name given to disturbances in rhythm monitoring caused by movement of the electrodes.(see below)

Image: Artefact Example 1

Artefact example 1

Image: Artefact Example 2

Artefact example 2

Image: Artefact Example 3

Artefact example 3

Image: Artefact Example 4

Artefact example 4

Image: Artefact Example 5

Artefact example 5

So, what are you going to do if you get either of the problems above?

You need to repeat the ECG but do as much as you can to correct any modifiable problems, eg

The movement can be caused in a number of ways.

Whatever the cause, it needs identifying and correcting as no reliable information can be gleaned from an incorrectly functioning monitor. Sometimes the monitor recognises the problem and the message "artefact" appears on the monitor screen.

However, the machine can also mistake artefact for fatal arrhythmias such as VF and VT. In this case the machine will release a "fatal arrhythmia" alarm and the nurse will have to keep running to the monitor to turn off the alarm.

Whatever causes the interference, sort it out quickly. It may take up a few more minutes you cannot spare, but it will make the monitor alarms more useful to you as they will then only alarm when a real problem occurs.

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