Electrocardiogram interpretation among pediatricians: Assessing knowledge, attitudes, and practice

Ebrahim M., Alseid R., Aleinati R., Tuzcu V.

Annals of Pediatric Cardiology, vol.13, no.3, pp.205-211, 2020 (ESCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.4103/apc.apc_18_20
  • Journal Name: Annals of Pediatric Cardiology
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, EMBASE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.205-211
  • Keywords: Electrocardiogram, interpretation, pediatric cardiologists, pediatrician
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Objectives: This study assesses the competency of pediatricians in interpreting electrocardiograms (ECGs). Methods: A cross-sectional study involving 125 pediatricians comprised of 71 general pediatricians, 15 pediatric cardiologists, and 39 other subspecialists recruited from all public hospitals and two specialty centers. Participants completed a questionnaire that included 10 ECGs and questions regarding backgrounds, attitudes, and practices. The ECGs were graded to obtain a knowledge score out of 30 points. Mann-Whitney U test and Kruskal-Wallis test with post hoc analysis and Bonferroni adjustment were used to compare groups. Results: The mean knowledge score ranged from 47.7% to 69.7% among various pediatric specialties (P = 0.006). Age, increasing years of experience, confidence level, number of cardiology referrals, and perceived importance of having good ECG interpretation skills were significantly related to the knowledge score (P = 0.05). Accuracy was highest in identifying normal ECGs (76.8%), supraventricular tachycardia (64.8%), along with long QT interval (58.4%), and was lowest for right bundle branch block (RBBB) (10.4%), 2:1 atrioventricular conduction (10.4%), and atrial tachycardia (AT) (4.8%). Accuracy among pediatric cardiologists was highest for long QT interval (100%), normal ECG (80%), as well as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (80%), and lowest for RBBB (13.3%) and AT (0%). Most pediatricians believe that ECGs are 'useful' (78.4%) and that having good interpretation skill is 'important' (80.6%). Conclusions: Pediatricians recognize the importance of ECGs. However, their skill and level of accuracy at interpretation is suboptimal, including cardiologists, and may affect patient care. Thus, efforts should be made to improve ECG understanding to provide better service to patients.