How many ECG leads do we need?

Research paper by Elin E Trägårdh, Henrik H Engblom, Olle O Pahlm

Indexed on: 31 Aug '06Published on: 31 Aug '06Published in: Cardiology Clinics


The number of leads needed in clinical electrocardiography depends on the clinical problem to be solved. The standard 12-lead ECG is so well established that alternative lead systems must prove their advantage through well-conducted clinical studies to achieve clinical acceptance. Certain additional leads seem to add valuable information in specific patient groups. The use of a large number of leads (eg, in body surface potential mapping) may add clinically relevant information, but it is cumbersome and its clinical advantage is yet to be proven. Reduced lead sets emulate the 12-lead ECG reasonably well and are especially advantageous in emergency situations.