open access

Vol 13, No 5 (2018)
Young Cardiology
Published online: 2018-09-05
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Assessment of electrocardiogram interpretation skills among Polish and English Division medical students

Marek Stopa, Tomasz Tokarek, Harisong Sevenathan, Izabela Pałasz, Mateusz Bogusławski, Artur Dziewierz, Zbigniew Siudak, Dariusz Dudek
DOI: 10.5603/FC.a2018.0059
·
Folia Cardiologica 2018;13(5):416-419.

open access

Vol 13, No 5 (2018)
Young Cardiology
Published online: 2018-09-05

Abstract

Introduction. An electrocardiography (ECG) examination is one of the most frequently performed diagnostic tests. The
correct interpretation of ECG, particularly in life-threatening scenarios (LTS) can influence decision-making on appropriate
actions and so consequently can have an impact on the life and health of patients. The aim of this study was to
evaluate ECG interpretation skills among a study population and to analyse factors determining their score.

Material and methods. ECG interpretation skills were assessed using a self-prepared questionnaire including questions
about demographic data and 20 ECG problems arising from 17 cases. Six of these cases were LTS. Three questions
evaluated basic understanding of heart rhythm, heart rate and axis. The survey was conducted via the internet. The
study population consisted of 551 medical, nursing and emergency medicine students.

Results. The overall score among Polish medical students was higher than among nursing and emergency medicine
students. English Division medical students scored almost the same as Polish medical students. Assessed in LTS, they
performed better than the nursing students, but achieved similar results to those of the emergency medicine students.
Analysis of Polish medical students showed that 4th-6th year students scored higher than their younger counterparts.
72% of medical students claimed to have self-educated themselves on ECG interpretation. This group had better results
than students who had studied ECG only in the classroom. Less than 20% of students from each category of the study
population felt that there were enough classes on ECG.

Conclusions. The level of ECG interpretative skills noted among medical students is unsatisfactory. Many factors influence ECG knowledge.

Abstract

Introduction. An electrocardiography (ECG) examination is one of the most frequently performed diagnostic tests. The
correct interpretation of ECG, particularly in life-threatening scenarios (LTS) can influence decision-making on appropriate
actions and so consequently can have an impact on the life and health of patients. The aim of this study was to
evaluate ECG interpretation skills among a study population and to analyse factors determining their score.

Material and methods. ECG interpretation skills were assessed using a self-prepared questionnaire including questions
about demographic data and 20 ECG problems arising from 17 cases. Six of these cases were LTS. Three questions
evaluated basic understanding of heart rhythm, heart rate and axis. The survey was conducted via the internet. The
study population consisted of 551 medical, nursing and emergency medicine students.

Results. The overall score among Polish medical students was higher than among nursing and emergency medicine
students. English Division medical students scored almost the same as Polish medical students. Assessed in LTS, they
performed better than the nursing students, but achieved similar results to those of the emergency medicine students.
Analysis of Polish medical students showed that 4th-6th year students scored higher than their younger counterparts.
72% of medical students claimed to have self-educated themselves on ECG interpretation. This group had better results
than students who had studied ECG only in the classroom. Less than 20% of students from each category of the study
population felt that there were enough classes on ECG.

Conclusions. The level of ECG interpretative skills noted among medical students is unsatisfactory. Many factors influence ECG knowledge.

Get Citation

Keywords

electrocardiography, students, life-threatening conditions, medical education

About this article
Title

Assessment of electrocardiogram interpretation skills among Polish and English Division medical students

Journal

Folia Cardiologica

Issue

Vol 13, No 5 (2018)

Pages

416-419

Published online

2018-09-05

DOI

10.5603/FC.a2018.0059

Bibliographic record

Folia Cardiologica 2018;13(5):416-419.

Keywords

electrocardiography
students
life-threatening conditions
medical education

Authors

Marek Stopa
Tomasz Tokarek
Harisong Sevenathan
Izabela Pałasz
Mateusz Bogusławski
Artur Dziewierz
Zbigniew Siudak
Dariusz Dudek

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  8. Lever NA, Larsen PD, Dawes M, et al. Are our medical graduates in New Zealand safe and accurate in ECG interpretation? N Z Med J. 2009; 122(1292): 9–15.
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