ECG Electrodes: Selection Practices
User Experience Network™ [Health Devices Feb 1993;22(2):97]
We are beginning an evaluation of ECG electrodes to determine which brands
are technically suitable for hospital application. Can you offer any guidance?
Technical tests would not necessarily indicate which electrode is best. We
believe that it is better to try them out clinically and choose the brand of ECG electrode
that gives you good performance and is cost-effective.
We suggest that you run an organized clinical trial. Obtain samples from
several companies, and distribute each brand of ECG electrodes to each clinical area that
uses them. However, all electrodes used in one clinical area at one time should be from
the same manufacturer. To save time, you may wish to provide each clinical area with a
different electrode type—for example, Area 1 would use Manufacturer A's product, and
Area 2 would use Manufacturer B's product—and then rotate products so that each area
can use and compare each type of electrode. Let the nursing staff use the electrodes for
several days, and then ask them for their impressions. This could be done informally or
with a questionnaire. Some issues to consider include the following:
- How well does the electrode adhere to the patient's
- Does the electrode produce a good ECG trace?
- Does the electrode tend to dry out and require
frequent replacement (see next question)?
- Is it easy to snap the patient leads onto these electrodes?
We believe that your time will be better spent by trying out the
electrodes in a clinical setting and getting the nursing staff's impressions than by
comprehensively testing the electrical characteristics against the AAMI standard.
Electrodes, Electrocardiographic [11-439]
Mechanism of Injury or
Misdiagnosis; Monitoring failure