The effectiveness of a nationwide interactive ECG teaching workshop for UK medical students

Ranu Baral, Declan C. Murphy, Ahmad Mahmood, Vassilios S. Vassiliou

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Purpose: Interpreting a twelve‑lead electrocardiogram (ECG) is a basic, albeit essential skill for most healthcare professionals to attain. Despite its importance, evidence suggests that the competency of healthcare professionals to interpret ECGs can be improved. We evaluated the effectiveness of a national interactive workshop designed to improve ECG interpretation in the UK medical student cohort.

Methods: UK medical students who attended a national workshop were asked to complete a pre- and post- workshop test which comprised of 20 ECGs which showed a variety of pathologies relating to conduction disturbances, tachycardia and acute coronary syndromes. The workshop was interactive and consisted of 6 h of ECG tutorials, divided into hourly sessions which covered all key topics such as ‘basic electrophysiology’ and ‘electro-conduction problems’. Pre- and post-workshop test scores were compared by difference in means using the paired two-tailed t-test.

Results: A total of 145 participants completed the pre-test and of those 44 completed both the pre and post-test. The mean pre-test and post-test scores were 9.7/20 questions (48.9%) and 11.2/20 questions (56.2%) respectively, with a mean improvement of 1.5/20 (7.3%) from pre- to post-test (+7.3%, 95% CI: +1.8 to +12.8%, p = 0.01).

Conclusion: A national ECG workshop which emphasizes activity-based learning may be effective in improving the competency of medical students to interpret ECGs. Further exploration with multi-center controlled studies involving a diverse cohort of students and analyses to determine their cost-effectiveness is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-79
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Electrocardiology
Early online date20 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Electrocardiogram teaching
  • Medical education
  • Workshop-based learning

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