As the population ages, the ECG will probably play an increasing role in psychiatry. The featured book is ‘Electrocardiography’, a pocket book by Mary Conover. The book is well presented and light in weight. In the first five chapters there is an examination of some of the basic features of the ECG including the location of the leads, normal activation of the heart, characteristics and abnormalities in the ECG waveforms, determination of the axis and some of the mechanisms by which arrhythmias arise including automaticity and reentry. However I wasn’t able to identify a formal system within the book for approaching an ECG (i.e the steps to go through when reading an ECG) although this can be inferred from the individual chapters at the beginning of the book – looking at the axis, characteristics of the leads and so on.
There are then a further 23 chapters followed by a final chapter on expert bedside monitoring. The 23 chapters cover the various types of disorder seen on the ECG. For each chapter there is a section on what is seen on the ECG, typical causes and treatment options. Some of the treatment strategies are quite detailed and geared towards the acute medical setting although a number of them may have been superceded (as this book was produced in 1988) or differentiate according to local policies.
As a portable guide to the ECG however, this is quite useful as it has a clear layout, shows common conditions and takes the reader through the interpretation of the ECG for each of these conditions.
Mary Conover. Electrocardiography. Pocket Guide Series. Fourth Edition. 1988. Mosby.
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