ECG Education

ECG Education: Lesson 3

The next stage in recording an ECG is to know the correct settings of your ECG machine. Needless to say most people assume that their ECG machine is correctly prepared before using it on a patient. Knowing it is safe to use is in keeping with the NHSLA Medical Devices competence. Any practitioner that is using an ECG machine should be expected to check and understand the following.

The electrocardiograph must meet or exceed the requirements of International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60601-2-51 (2003) – Particular requirements of safety, including essential performance, or recording and analysing single channel and multichannel electrocardiographs.

This document establishes the minimum safety and performance requirements of the ECG machines that are intended for use in the analysis of rhythm and of detailed morphology of complex cardiac complexes.

The ECG machine should be prepared in accordance with the American Heart Association (AHA) specifications.

  • The low-frequency filter should be set no higher than 0.05Hz to avoid distortion of the ST segment.
  • The high-frequency filter should be set no lower than 100HZ to prevent loss of high frequency information.

The digital filter design allows for the low-frequency filter to be raised to 0.5Hz when recording in ‘auto’ mode. However, the ST-segment distortion may occur when this setting is used in manual mode. Fixing the low-frequency setting at 0.05Hz in the pre-set should prevent this occurring.

SCST Recording Bandwidths for ECG


Sophie Blackman
Head of Clinical Physiology
West Hertfordshire NHS Trust

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