June 04, 2021 • 10 minutes
Fri June 2021

Misplaced electrode

What happens if an electrode is placed incorrectly in an electrocardiogram test?

An electrocardiogram tests relies on the placement of 10 electrodes on specific parts of the body.

Four electrodes are positioned on each limb – two anywhere between the ankle and the torso (Right Leg and Left Leg) and two anywhere between the shoulder and the wrist (Right Arm and Left Arm).

The remaining six electrodes need to be placed at specific points of the torso (V1 to V6). The positioning of these electrodes is vital to ensure that the test generates the correct results.

If the electrodes are not placed correctly, this can lead to misinterpretation in the best case or significant diagnostic errors in the worse case such as a false diagnosis of a heart attack or other medical conditions connected to the heart.

How to connect Ekg correctly ?


Incorrect placement of electrodes for EKG on the chest

A common misplacement of the electrodes is that the V1 and V2 electrodes are placed too high on the chest. This can lead to a false diagnosis of an anterior myocardial infarction or the inversion of the T wave on the EKG reading.

Another misplacement occurs when any of the V1 to V6 electrodes are too low or laterally displaced and this also can change the amplitude of the reading and lead to misdiagnosis.

Anything that reduces the chance of the incorrect placement of the chest electrodes for EKG is a welcome development. This is the reason why the Allbrand 12 Lead EKG Electrodes Belt was developed.

The silicon belt has the six precordial chest electrodes built into a stretchy band that is designed to correctly position these electrodes in one smooth application. The V1 and V2 are adjacent to each other and positioned higher than the other four chest electrodes to ensure that they sit in the correct position in the fourth intercostal space to the right and left of the sternum as required. V3 to V6 electrodes also need to be placed at specific points on the chest lower than V1 and V2 and running along the left side of the torso.

The beauty of the belt is that the positioning of the electrodes in relation to each other and in relation to the body is automatic, easy, and does not require any prolonged medical training.

Incorrect placement of electrodes for EKG on the limbs

Another potential issue in electrode placement is if the limb electrodes are inverted. This reportedly can happen in between 0.4 and 4% of tests and has been shown that the higher levels occur in situations of greater urgency of care. The reversing of specific limb leads of the test can lead to the generation of an incorrect reading and a potential misdiagnosis but this depends greatly on which limb leads were inverted.

The Allbrand 12-lead EKG belt is supplied with four color-coded limb clamps that are designed specifically to make it highly unlikely that such an inversion will take place.

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