The reader should first interpret the electrocardiograms in a narrative format. Analyze the tracing in terms of the cardiac rhythm and identify the atrial and ventricular rates. Measure the PR, QRS, and QT intervals and determine the electrical axis within 15 degrees. Identify the electrocardiographic abnormalities and synthesize the findings into an integrated interpretation.
A board-review format may also be used. You may wish to practice using a time limit of 4 hours for each of the five tests of 40 tracings in order to simulate the format of the actual board examination. Cover the answers with a blank sheet of paper as you interpret each electrocardiogram. The following section provides a table of electrocardiographic diagnoses to be used with the sample tracings. The reader should select the best diagnoses that apply to each electrocardiogram. Multiple diagnoses are likely for each example. There may not be an exact diagnosis to conform with the narrative interpretation; however, choose those that best apply. The author has listed the preferred selections in the answer section. Potential, unconfirmed, or alternative diagnoses appear in parentheses.
The selection of test answers is derived from standard electrocardiographic diagnoses. The test is similar but not identical to the cardiology board examination. All of the electrocardiograms are included not just to help you pass the boards, but also to help you become a master electrocardiographer. The author makes no claim that the American Board of Internal Medicine or the American College of Cardiology would interpret the enclosed tracings exactly as the author has done.