ECG leads (or electrocardiographic leads) record the electrical potential at the different points on the body. Where the leads are placed determines a specific pattern we are looking for on our recording.
In general practice there are 3-4 main ones we use and will focus on those (although there may even be up to 12 leads on a machine.) We most often use an ECG during anesthesia monitoring, but may also use it when working up cardiac cases or looking for arrhythmias as part of a wellness exam.
There are a few ways you can remember where you are supposed to places the leads. This works when the pet is in the right lateral recumbency.
1) White rhymes with right, white lead goes on the right front leg. Also, in the right lateral position, the right forelimb is down, and snow (white) is on the ground.
2) Black will go on the other front leg (left), and you read your newspaper in the morning. So the black and white leads will always go on the front legs.
3) Red goes on the left hind leg (smoke over fire, so if black is left front leg, the red is left back leg). Also, Christmas comes at the end of the year, so the red and green leads go on the hind legs.
4) For a Green lead, in right lateral, grass grows on the ground. So the green would go on the right hind leg which is in the down position.
This is how I remember the positions! I know there are other ways. What are your acronyms or quirky ways to remember?
Lori Hehn is a practicing veterinarian and a contributor and content manager with XPrep Learning Solutions. She has a drive for continual learning and enjoys interacting with veterinary and vet tech students. She also writes veterinary learning books for children.