Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor, I would like to give credit to the easy, quick and painless ECG test. I started my medical career as an ECG tech in 1971, advanced to monitor tech, then CV tech at an on-the-job training program offered at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., in 1972. The testing and technology was leaping from “Master’s Two Step” to treadmill exercise tests, large reel-to-reel tape recorders to cassettes for Holter monitors, and “Sones” cut down to “Seldinger” percutaneous entry for cardiac catheter placement. The CV techs at the Washington Hospital Center did everything in the cath lab before RNs were required. We maintained and taught the RNs about A-lines, Swan-Ganz and balloon pump catheters in the ICUs. As part of the “Code Blue” team, we were responsible for monitoring, CPR and defibrillation. CV techs did everything and were everywhere. It was great. All along, the ECG testing was also progressing from recording one lead at a time and moving a suction cup across the precordial leads, to multi-electrode placement with a 12-lead ECG displayed and printed all at once on one sheet of paper. In 1974, I took the opportunity to work in the cath lab portion of Roger’s Heart Foundation in St. Petersburg, Florida. The other part of the foundation was headed by Dr. Henry Marriott, editor of one of the first ECG reference books. He would come to the cath lab to test the possibility of high-fidelity ECGs or ECG electrodes invisible to x-rays during cardiac caths. In addition to enjoying his seminar luaus, I began to view ECGs as more than a little test and remembered how the ECG was the first test given when heart problems were suspected, and the last test given after invasive or drug therapy. I returned to the Washington Hospital Center a few times during the next 15 years, between traveling the western U.S. or chasing my other dream of playing music. A little older now (okay, maybe a lot), I wanted to return to cardiology and purchased Wes Todd’s CD and study guide books to refresh my memory, only to realize I had a lot of catching up to do. In the meantime, I feel I’ve come full circle after returning to the non-invasive side of cardiology, and again, I’m taking ECGs, scanning Holters and performing stress testing. As I enter the cath lab, post-op CVICU, ICU or CCU, I understand their invasive therapies and the intensity of their work. While I do feel drawn to return to that level of intensity, I can still feel a sense of importance in my work because they all need and want that easy, quick and painless little test called the ECG. Thank you, Nancy E. Hahn Email: nancyehahn@aol.com
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