Competence of psychiatric clinicians in interpreting electrocardiograms and QT intervals: Can they do this? Does it matter?
Solomons L., Treloar A., Noronha R.
Aims and method: We assessed the abilities of trainee and consultant psychiatrists in reading and interpreting electrocardiograms (ECGs) and QT intervals using a questionnaire and standardised ECG. Results: Only 5% of our sample of trainee and consultant psychiatrists could correctly indicate a QTc interval. Performances on other measures, such as rate were also poor, with senior house officers performing better than consultants. Clinical implications: The increased awareness of problems caused by antipsychotics has not been reflected in improved knowledge of ECGs among psychiatrists. Machines do not reliably calculate QT intervals. We therefore urge better training and understanding of ECGs for psychiatrists.