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December 10, 1982

Nitroglycerin Ointment and Electrical Resistance

Author Affiliations

Michael Pennock Medical Monitors, Inc Wyncote, Pa

JAMA. 1982;248(22):2971. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330220017015

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To the Editor.—  The chest application of nitroglycerin ointments for the treatment of angina pectoris was implicated in a recent issue of The Journal, in a letter by Parke and Higgins (1982;248:427), as a potential source of increased electrical resistance of the skin-defibrillation paddle interface.Despite attempts at thorough cleansing and skin preparation with alcohol wipes, similar nitroglycerin ointment interference with electrical conductivity has caused consternation in two other diagnostic modalities that we are aware of—Holter monitoring and transtelephonic arrhythmia monitoring (where chest electrodes are being used in lieu of wrist bracelets).With the previous correspondents, we would like to emphasize that patients should avoid putting the ointment in the area of the chest where defibrillation paddles or ECG chest electrodes are normally placed.