Calculating heart rate from ECG couldn’t get simpler than this. Here’s a guide to make your calculation easier than ever!
Are you confused about how to calculate heart rate from ECG? Looking for a proper way to figure out heart rate from ECG?
If yes, you’re in luck.
ECG is a typical graph that shows the electrical activity of the heart. It is commonly used to diagnose if there is any problem in the functioning of the heart.
Calculating heart rate from ECG might be a tough task. Not anymore!
This blog is your super simple guide to learning to calculate heart rate from rhythm. Ready to dive in?
Here we go…….
Let’s understand what heart rate is and why it is essential.
Every time the heart beats, it pumps out the blood containing oxygen to the entire body to make it up for energy. It shouldn’t beat too fast or too slow.
Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats in a minute. On an average, a healthy human heart beats 72 times per minute. Hence, it’s a normal heart rate.
Your heart rate along with the rhythm is used to check if your heart functions properly. Any deviation from the normal standards indicates that the heart needs help.
Before learning how to calculate heart rate, let’s see what an ECG graph looks like.
An ECG is a graph comprising recurrent waves such as the P wave, QRS segment, and T wave. Let’s understand each wave in detail.
The P wave is the first wave in an ECG graph and it is more or less similar to a semi-circular shape. It shows the cardiac muscle contraction in the atrial region
(upper two chambers). Abnormal or absent P waves could denote a problem in the atria.
The QRS complex follows the P wave. It is a combination of three waves – Q, R, and, S. It shows the depolarization of ventricles. It is a skinny, triangular-shaped wave.
The T wave normally shows the repolarization of the ventricles. It follows the QRS complex. Irregular T waves might indicate a problem in the ventricles or the next heartbeat.
Hope you’ve got a clear picture of an ECG graph. Let’s dive into calculating heart rate.
There are multiple ways to calculate heart rate from ECG. Moving further, we will navigate each of them.
First, let’s learn how to calculate heart rate if the rhythms are regular.
As we’ve seen above, the QRS complex is a tall, triangular-shaped wave that occurs recurrently. A QRS complex indicates that a heartbeat has occurred.
Now, locate the QRS complex in your ECG graph. Take any two QRS complexes and observe their peaks.
In between the two peaks of QRS complexes, you could see big squares. And, in those big squares, you can see 5 small squares compressed.
Count the number of big squares in the distance between two peaks. You may not always get a round figure – something like 3 or 4 big squares exactly every time.
Hence, pay attention and also check the number of small squares. Count each big square as 1 and each small square as 0.2.
Let’s assume you could identify 3 big squares and 4 small squares. So, the value of 3 big squares would be 3. The value of 4 small squares would be 0.8 (4×0.2).
Adding 3+0.8 we get 3.8 as the number. Now divide 300 by 3.8. The answer is 78.94. So, it is approximately 79 beats per minute. There you go, you have got your heart rate.
This method is particularly useful if the rhythms are regular. It’s because in regular rhythms the distance between any two QRS complexes is the same.
That being said, let’s move on to learning to calculate heart rate when the rhythms are irregular.
Count 30 squares starting from the left side of your ECG graph. 30 squares denote that 6 seconds have been completed. Mark it when you reach the 30th square.
Now you have located the starting and ending point of 30 squares. Count the number of QRS complexes between these two points. You are almost there. You have only one step remaining.
You should probably have a number by counting the QRS complexes. Let’s say 7. Multiply that by 10 (7×10) which is 70. That’s all. You are done with your heart rate.
You might wonder why we are multiplying the number by 10. Remember we calculated the number of squares for 6 seconds? So 6×10 equals 60 seconds. By multiplying by 10 we are calculating it for a minute.
You are good to go with the calculation of heart rate. Let’s jump into the normal range of heart rate.
Every individual is unique and so are their heart rates. However, a healthy adult’s heart rate ranges from 60-100 bpm.
Anything above or below this range might denote a problem in your heart. Next, we move on to know what possibilities do the results conclude.
Tachycardia occurs when your heart beats faster than usual. If it beats more than 100 times per minute, then consulting a doctor is required.
Bradycardia is when your heart beats less than 60 times per minute. This is an irregular one and needs to get medical aid as soon as possible.
So far, this guide might have turned your tough task of calculating heart rate from ECG easy.
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When it comes to knowing about the heart, no one helps better than ECG. Calculating heart rate from ECG is a prime method to detect heart-related problems earlier.
Being watchful towards your ECG and heart rate is a smart lifestyle choice. Especially when you do it with a smart gadget that takes only a minute and a touch.
However, if you face any problems or your readings appear unusual, don’t delay the process of visiting a doctor. It is always better to consult a professional at the earliest and be aware of your heart health.