CHRIS PRIEST & MARK CLARKE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRIS PRIEST & MARK CLARKE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A nurse monitors the heartbeat of an elderly man fitted with chest electrodes. The heartbeat is analysed with a portable ECG (elec- trocardiograph) machine. The ECG electrodes detect the electrical activity of the patient's heart. This heartbeat is recorded onto a strip of paper, seen here held by the nurse. An ECG examination is a means of diagnosing disorders of the heart, many of which produce deviations from normal electrical patterns. An ECG provides characteristic "finger- print" traces of the heartbeat. Coronary artery disease, pericarditis, coronary thrombosis and arrhythmias, can be detected.
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