Thursday, April 26, 2018

How to get an EKG heart rhythm tattoo that doesn't suck

Realostic STEMI heart attack tattoo
Tattoos with EKGs (heart rhythms) are wildly popular. Unfortunately, accuracy with these rhythms does not seem to have the same popularity. I've never understood why someone would choose to get a permanent tattoo of something they don't understand without researching the topic first. So, I'm glad you're here.

First, find the EKG you want as your tattoo

Main article: How to obtain a rhythm strip for your EKG tattoo

I recommend using a real EKG as a pattern. Click the above link for some advice on how to obtain a real EKG rhythm for your tattoo.

The biggest reason for using a real EKG as a pattern for your tattoo is that you know no matter what that the tattoo will be accurate. There may be some electrical interference present, but you will have completely avoided the problem of graphic artists just making up their own squiggly lines and calling them EKGs.

The next reason to use a real EKG is that it will have deeper meaning to you. Using your own rhythm, or one of a family member, paints a more meaningful story than just googling something random.

If the EKG you obtain is a 12-lead EKG, it can be confusing which part of the page to use. If this is your situation, check out my tutorial on which part of your 12-lead to use for your EKG tattoo.

If obtaining a real EKG is not an option, use the search terms "Normal Sinus Rhythm" in your search for rhythms you might want to use. Beware, you can still find erroneous search results this way if you don't know what exactly you're looking at, so check out my tutorial on the normal sinus rhythm.

Check out the health care tattoos database for ideas at www.healthcaretattoos.com for tattoo ideas which are vetted by me - a paramedic - for accuracy. I don't get as much time as I'd like to post there, but you'll find a few ideas on that site.



Ensure the accuracy of your sketch before you get the tattoo

Tattoos are permanent, so please have someone double check your sketch before you have it etched indelibly into your body forever. This could be a paramedic, a doctor, a nurse, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, a cardiography tech, or any health care worker with education in EKG interpretation.

If you don't know anyone with this knowledge, feel free to email your sketch to me at healthcaretattoos@gmail.com. I provide free feedback to people on their EKG tattoos as a public service.

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