Podcast 649: Normal Triage EKGs - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 649: Normal Triage EKGs

Contributor:  Samuel Killian, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Anecdotally, when the computer reads a triage EKG as normal it is most often normal
  • One study tested this theory by examining 855 computer-read EKGS (222 of which were read as normal)
  • Two cardiologists reviewed these 222 normal EKGs and only found 13 EKGs that were slightly abnormal with nonspecific abnormalities
  • Two EM physicians then reviewed these EKGs and only one physician on one EKG said they would change the patient’s course of care by rooming them faster
  • The study may support eliminating physician review of normal triage EKGs as a safe practice that would decrease physician interruption


Hughes KE, Lewis SM, Katz L, Jones J. Safety of Computer Interpretation of Normal Triage Electrocardiograms. Acad Emerg Med. 2017 Jan;24(1):120-124. doi: 10.1111/acem.13067. PMID: 27519772.


Summarized by John Spartz, MS3 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

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