Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Good EKG Tattoos!

I've written a couple posts about bad EKG Tattoos, and have received multiple emails recently from people wanting advice on getting tattoos that won't end up showcased within the hallowed pages of this blog. Here are some good EKG Tattoos I have found that won't make you look like a hobo.

I posted this one initially in Bad EKG Tattoos I, not because it is necessarily wrong, but it displays a very sick heart accurately. Whether or not this was intentional, I don't know, but it appears to show signs of a STEMI heart attack with lots of crappy malignant ectopy, like someone who is about to die. The monitor paper grid squares are not to scale, but it is still a very cool effect. 


I keep staring at this one trying to figure out what body part that exactly is. I think I just posted a picture of somebody's ass onto my blog. If you are a person who wishes to indelibly etch a heart rhythm onto her ass, this one looks acceptably proportioned (the EKG, not the ass).


A quick word on this tattoo: It's okay. Not great, but okay. First off, the waveform looks good. The R wave (the large spike pointing to page left) is a bit tall, which could possibly indicate an enlarged heart if found on a 12 lead, but I'm willing to overlook that. The baseline shows a ton of artifact, which could occur if you were printing a strip out on someone while bumping down the road in the back of the ambulance. Lastly, the rate... possibly looks too slow. 

Here's what I think happened: this is an actual strip from an injured athlete who has an enlarged heart and baseline bradycardia due to excellent physical fitness. Plausible? They are wearing a muscle shirt. 


This is another great one on a monitor paper style background. I have received several emails from people who want to get EKG tattoos celebrating their children, sometimes with actual rhythm strips printed out on their kids while in the hospital. Here is a fine example I found online which you may wish to emulate.


Our last EKG is very close, but not quite. Notice the P wave right above the letter L in life. It kind of sort of looks like it got unnaturally pinched. You'll want your tattoo artist to keep those P waves very similar in shape from one beat to the next. At the worst it will look dumb, at the best it will look sick. Not good sick. Bad sick.


It looks like these tattoo posts are getting lots of traffic, so I'll try to write them more often. I continue to provide free consulting services to anyone contemplating getting an EKG tattoo. Before marring your body forever with something that I will openly (and every other medical professional, secretly) mock you for, email a pic of your sketch to me at If you are wanting to get a tattoo of a real EKG, you can also send me a pic and I can let you know if it has a ton of artifact or some other feature that interfered with a clean tracing. 

Thanks for reading!


Read more about EKG tattoos:

The Normal Sinus Rhythm
Learn more about proper heart rhythms with the best book ever written on the subject

1 comment:

  1. I got a generic ekg tattoo with a heart in it. I'm pretty sure if it was someone's heartbeat they'd be dying...but I am gonna put "life doesnt end in death" below it sooo.


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