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ECG Paper And EKG Paper Essentials

ECG or electrocardiography is a way to graphically record and display the electrical activities of the muscles of the heart over a specific period of time. The term EKG can also be used, it is from the German spelling of Elektrokardiogramm, and different physicians may use either term to designate the testing of the electric activity in the heart. The paper used in ECG machines must be perfectly designed both to provide the correct units on the graph printed on the paper as well as the smooth motion of the paper through the machine. Since measurements or differences in the electrical output of the heart can signal normal or abnormal heart issues, accuracy in all aspects of the machine from the placement of the electrodes through to the accuracy and finish of the paper is critical for complete and consistent results in medical tests.


All ECG paper is set up using the same type of grid. The grid lines are typically in red or green for easy reading, with a black tracer ink used.  The paper's grid includes 1mm squares across the central readout portion of the paper. The grid is further divided by bold lines into five by five blocks of the 1mm squares, then lines that are again bolder to form larger squares of 4 of the five by five 1mm squares. The result is a repetitive graph that travels the length of the roll of ECG paper, consistent and easy to read for medical professionals. The beauty of this design is that it doesn't matter what machine, what country or what units of measurement are traditionally used, all medical recording devices use this 1mm square base grid.


The exact amount of time and voltage is measured on the x and y axis of the graph paper. Time is on the x-axis and voltage on the y. By setting the speed of the machine faster or slower smaller and more subtle changes in currents over time can be measured. Therefore, the setting of the machine is important in using the data from the ECG paper in monitoring the heart activity.


There are several factors to keep in mind when purchasing ECG paper or EKG paper. One of the first is that not all machines are calibrated or designed to use the same type of paper. It is essential to look for a supplier that offers a full range of different types of ECG/EKG paper that is specifically designed for your brand and model of machine. Most online medical paper suppliers offer a full catalogue or branded group of papers, so you can easily find the manufacturer of your particular machine. From there you will also have to know the model number, there are some differences between models even within the same brand when it comes to paper.


Most machines use a Z-fold style of paper that provides an even feed without pulling as the paper is fed through the machine. All that the operator has to do is set the speed of the paper feed and ensure that there is nothing that will obstruct or press against the paper while it is moving though the EKG machine. The surface of the paper is also specially treated to be ultra smooth, allowing for the tracer to remain very accurate and preventing any possible distortions or alternations of the data that may occur even on what appears to be a flat paper surface. This extra attention to the quality of the paper is a must to ensure there are no complications to your results. High quality paper also ensures less maintenance required for your machine and much longer use even in very demanding settings.


MSEC remains dedicated to providing the very best and the very latest in medical supplies and equipment.  We never cease to be on the lookout for the latest innovation that will benefit both our many clients and the patients they dedicate their lives to caring for.  If you have any difficulty finding your choices in our vast inventory, call our customer service at 1-877-706-4480 to speed up your order or to make a special request.  We are always happy to help you.

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