Expected ECG Findings
The easiest way to explain the heart rhythm is to refer back to an electrocardiogram (ECG - as depicted below). For review, we will go over the basics of an ECG first:
-P Wave: depolarization of atria (starting at the SA node, then spreading out to the atria)
-PR Interval: time it takes for the electrical pulse to get from the SA node to the AV node)
-QRS Complex: depolarization of ventricles (starting at the AV node; re-polarization of atria hidden here)
-T Wave: re-polarization of ventricles
This patient in particular, as you recall, had 3 pulses followed by a pause. This likely signifies a Second Degree AV Block: Mobitz Type I (Wenckebach). This would be depicted at a slowly increasing PR interval, before a lack of QRS complex occurs. The cycle then restarts. Basically this means the signal from the SA node to the AV node slows until it doesn't make it through to initiate ventricular contraction, before the next SA node initiates again to restart the cycle.
If you've ever struggled with interpretting ECG's, I recommend reading this book by Dale Dubin. It provides a step-by-step understanding and asssessment of ECG's along with the associated pathologies, at an MD level. It is an excellent source for reviewing for a CardioPulm course or preparing for the Cardiovascular section of the boards!
James Heafner PT, DPT, OCS:
Owner and lead physical therapist at Heafner Health, cash-based physical therapy in Boulder, CO. Areas of expertise include orthopedic and manual therapy, functional movement, pain science, and movement science.
In May 2013, I earned my Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Saint Louis University. After graduating from the Harris Health Systems Orthopedic Residency in October 2014, I moved to Boulder, CO. Since living in Boulder, I have started my own cash-based PT practice, earned my OCS certification, and teach for the OPTIM Fellowship and COMT program in Houston TX and Scottsdale, AZ.
Chris Fox PT, DPT, OCS: Physical therapist at Foothills Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy in Scottsdale, AZ and regularly lectures at the Phoenix Campus for NAU's DPT program and for Optim Manual Therapy's COMT program. Completed multiple advanced manual therapy courses implementing aspects of biomechanical analysis. He received his DPT from Saint Louis University in 2013. Completed Scottsdale Healthcare's Orthopaedic Residency (now Honor Health) in July 2014. He became a Board Certified Orthopaedic Specialist in 2015. Level I Expert in FMS and SFMA , Kinetacore FDN Level 1 certification, and IASTM Technique course completion. He would like to pursue further education in McKenzie Technique, Dry Needling, Strength & Conditioning, Orthopaedic and Manual Therapy.
Brian Schwabe PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS:
- Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist (SCS) at Elite OrthoSport in Santa Monica, CA which specializes in treating collegiate/professional athletes and clientele from the Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Santa Monica areas.
- USC Sports Residency Trained Physical Therapist (<1% of all PT's residency trained)
- DPT from Saint Louis University
- Future plans/interest include:
1. USAW, SFMA & Catapult Systems technology for NBA teams
2. Pursuing a position as a sports physical therapist &/or Strength coach for a Division 1 athletic medicine department or professional sport team.
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