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No Electrodes? No Problem.

without electrodes

So there you were… You and your partner just got ROSC on your patient after a few rounds of high quality CPR.  You grab your 12-Lead cables and begin applying them when you realize that you are a few electrodes short.  The spare pack you keep with the monitor is probably here… somewhere in the pile of equipment and trash that surrounds you.  Do you know how to get a tracing without electrodes?  

How to Obtain an EKG Tracing Without Electrodes

Here is a neat trick that can really save your butt when you, for whatever reason, are fresh out of electrodes, but absolutely must obtain a cardiac tracing.

  1. Grab a roll of tape, some 2×2 gauze pads (1 2×2 for each electrode you are missing), and some surgical lubricant.
  2. Apply some surgical lube to one of the 2×2’s and thoroughly saturate it.
  3. The lube-soaked 2×2 will now act as your make-shift electrode.  Place it where you would normally place the electrode you are missing, and then place the lead wire directly on top of the 2×2.
  4. Tape the lead wire down on top of the make-shift electrode, ensuring that the metal portion of the lead wire is in firm contact with the “electrode”. (Hint: You will probably need more tape than you think, as the lube instantly destroys the adhesive quality of most tape).
  5. And you’re done!  I would highly recommend trying this before you find yourself in a situation that you need to do it, and also, I would avoid circumferentially taping the patient’s extremities (or torso for that matter), as this may cause harm.

Interested in what a tracing looks like using these field expedient electrodes, compared to the real thing?  Click here

Thanks for reading!  Please take a moment to follow this blog via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter, if you haven’t done so already.  Also, please share this content with your friends and colleagues.  If you’ve used this technique before, please leave a comment below and let everyone know how well it worked!  As always, be safe, and remember to follow local protocols.


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