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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Patricia A Gunning, MS, BS, AD (Purdue University School of Nursing)
Description: This is a quite thorough and easy to use book on ECG interpretation. A unique structural element is the use of a two column format, with the outer column used as a summary for rapid review and the inner column used for detailed information. The book covers cardiac anatomy and physiology, ECG basics, and all of the basic and common arrhythmias. Also included are chapters about electrolyte imbalances, 12-lead ECG interpretation, and nonpharmacologic treatment.
Purpose: Although a specific purpose is not stated in the preface, the implied purpose is to help nurses learn how to interpret ECGs. Especially for basic ECG interpretation, this book does an outstanding job of walking the learner through the steps of rhythm identification.
Audience: It is specifically written for nurses, from new graduates to advanced practice nurses. The authors of each chapter are not identified, but are listed together with the consultants.
Features: Color plates that depict ECG changes that occur during a myocardial infarction are unique to the book. Other drawings, such as the layers of the heart wall, are quite helpful, especially for novices. Additionally, the drawing demonstrating preload and afterload is well done and easy to understand. The book even explains how to prepare the skin prior to electrode placement, and how to properly apply electrodes, which again is something novices would not know. The chart that delineates common monitor problems is also quite helpful. There are a few shortcomings. Selected references are listed on a single page lists rather than at the conclusion of each chapter. Authors are not specifically identified by chapter, and there is minimal information about torsades de pointes and long QT syndrome. Even with these shortcomings, this book is very useful and is a welcome addition to any nurses' library at or work or home.
Assessment: This is a quite useful book both for nurses who are novices and for those experienced in ECG interpretation. The drawings and explanations are clear and easy to understand. Various topics are easily located and the index is thorough, which is another positive for this book. This would be a worthwhile addition to any nursing unit or department in which ECG interpretation is needed. It is a good teaching tool and reference.