The pediatric electrocardiogram is an important tool in the screening and diagnosis of congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmias. Interpretation of the pediatric electrocardiogram can be challenging due to changes in normal findings as a patient ages.

After completing this article, readers should be able to:

  • Interpret a pediatric electrocardiogram and identify key abnormalities that warrant further evaluation.

The first recording of the electrical activity of the heart—an electrocardiogram (ECG)—was performed and published by Dr Augustus Waller in 1887. (1) Dr Waller’s work was further advanced by Dr Willem Einthoven, who created a 3-lead ECG machine and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1924 for his work. Initially used solely for detection of arrhythmias, the ECG was soon recognized as an important tool for detecting other abnormalities, (2) for which it remains an essential tool in modern clinical medicine. During the subsequent...

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