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The 12-lead ECG in the emergency medical service setting: how electrode placement and paramedic gender are experienced by women
  1. Rachael Wallen2,
  2. Bronwyn Tunnage1,
  3. Susan Wells3
  1. 1Paramedicine and Emergency Management, School of Health Care Practice, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2St John Ambulance, Auckland, New Zealand
  3. 3Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Bronwyn Tunnage, Paramedicine and Emergency Management, School of Health Care Practice, AUT University, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1142, New Zealand; Bronwyn.tunnage{at}


Aim The aim of this study was to explore women’s attitudes to precordial electrode placement and 12-lead ECG acquisition in the emergency medical service setting.

Method Fifty participants were recruited from university campuses. Demographic data were collected and two ECGs were recorded: one with precordial electrodes positioned on the breast and one with the electrodes under the breast. Participants’ attitudes to electrode placement and ECG acquisition were explored in a second questionnaire.

Results Twenty-six participants (52%) preferred to have the electrodes placed on their breast, 19 (38%) were indifferent between the two placements and 5 (10%) preferred siting under the breast. 94% of the participants stated they would consent to a prehospital ECG irrespective of the gender of the paramedic crew, and all reported they would have the investigation if it facilitated definitive treatment, even if the paramedic was male.

Conclusions The majority of participants preferred electrode placement on the breast and would consent to ECG acquisition irrespective of the gender of the operator. It is possible that paramedics are more concerned with the acceptability of acquiring an ECG than women are themselves.

  • paramedics
  • ECG
  • cardiac care, acute coronary syndrome
  • ethics
  • clinical assessment

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