At Digirad, we place hundreds of electrodes every day, so we know a thing or two about how to get a good ECG. I’ve heard countless tips on the best ways to improve signal strength and get a better study. Here are the four most common ways we’ve found to enhance ECG Signals when conducting an MPI Stress Test.
1. Skin Preparation
Skin preparation is an essential part of any ECG test. Residues and oils on the skin and reduce the conduction of the electoral signal and hurt the quality of the test. Shaving the area, cleaning with alcohol, and rubbing the area with a towel are smart ways to get a better signal.
2. Electrode Placement
Misaligned or poorly positioned electrodes will reduce the amount of signal generated and produce a lower quality report. It’s also essential to take the patient’s gender, body type into account, and factor in how to adjust placement based on their unique situation.
3. Electrode Quality
Even the best skin perpetration can be compromised if you are using inferior equipment. In addition to purchasing quality equipment, you also want to keep the electrodes in their pouch before use, check the expiration date, and avoid storage areas that are too warm.
4. Patient Prep
Getting a high-quality ECG involves more than the physical equipment. If your patient is nervous, moving, cold, or talking, it could affect the study quality. Clearing explaining what you want, and putting the patient at ease will go a long way to administering a quality test.
The Results Are In
Each tech is different, so I decided to run a poll on LinkedIn to see what others thought. The question was “What is the most important aspect of a good ECG” and the three choices were (1) Quality of the Electrodes, (2) Electrode Application, and (3) Skin Preparation. By a wide margin, Skin Preparation came in as the winner with 64% of the results. Electrode application came in second at 25%, and last was the quality of the electrodes with only 11%.
What is Your Experience?
Do you have issues getting a good signal when running an MPI Stress Test? What is your experience, or what are the tips you use to improve signal quality? Let’s keep the discussion going. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!