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October 12, 1963

Electrocardiographic Interpretation.

Author Affiliations

New Haven, Conn.


By Enrique Cabrera, E. H. Estes, and H. K. Hellerstein. Ed. by J. W. Hurst and N. K. Wenger. 308 pp. $12.95. Blakiston Division, McGraw-Hill Book Co., 330 W 42nd St, New York 36, 1963

JAMA. 1963;186(2):167. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03710020087031

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The physician is the instrument that interprets an electrocardiogram. As an instrument, constantly performing scientific functions in clinical medicine, he is generally uncalibrated and unstandardized. Consistency in ECG interpretation is seldom tested and absolute accuracy is seldom measured by pathological correlation. Rarely is the physician objective in the procedure, since his interpretation is inevitably biased by the clinical data he receives before he begins.

This book shows the extent to which electrocardiographers depend on the prejudgments they make from clinical information, and how greatly their interpretations, when made without clinical data, can differ. The text was prepared from the transcripts of a postgraduate symposium, in which three cardiologists were asked to assess a group of ECG tracings, before and after receipt of clinical information for each patient. The 60 cases represent a variety of clinical states, emphasizing the normal and commonly abnormal rather than the esoteric. The sequence of each

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