How to calculate heart rate with ECG paper

Time : 2023-05-11

An ECG paper is a method of measuring the electrical activity of the heart, which records the electrical signals of the heart over a period of time. Electrocardiograms are one of the important tools doctors use to diagnose and treat heart problems. Heart rate refers to the number of times the heart beats per minute and is one of the basic indicators for evaluating heart health. Calculating your heart rate is very important when having an EKG because it can provide important information about your heart's health.


There are usually some markings on the ECG paper, including time, voltage and heart rate, etc. Among them, the heart rate is calculated by analyzing the R wave interval on the electrocardiogram chart. The R wave is the largest peak in the ECG signal and represents the point in time when the heart contracts. Heart rate can be calculated by measuring the time interval between R waves.

First, the time interval between two adjacent R waves needs to be calculated. Then, divide 60 seconds by this time interval to get your heart rate. For example, if the time interval between two adjacent R waves is 0.8 seconds, the heart rate is 60÷0.8=75 beats/minute.

It should be noted that sometimes the R wave on the ECG paper may be irregular or discontinuous, and at this time other methods are needed to calculate the heart rate. One method is to use the grid on the ECG paper to estimate the time interval between R waves. On a standard ECG paper, the width of each small square is 0.04 seconds, and each large square contains 5 small squares, so the width of each large square is 0.2 seconds. If an R wave appears in the middle of two adjacent large squares, it can be estimated that the time interval is 0.4 seconds (that is, the width of two large squares), and then the heart rate is calculated.

In addition to manually calculating heart rate, there are now many computer programs and devices that can help automatically identify R waves and calculate heart rate. These tools can improve calculation accuracy and efficiency, and can also store and share ECG drawing data with other doctors or researchers.

In general, how to calculate the heart rate on the ECG paper is actually very simple. You only need to measure the time interval between R waves, and then divide 60 seconds by this time interval to get the heart rate. However, it should be noted that other methods need to be used when dealing with irregular or discontinuous R waves, and the use of computer programs or equipment can improve calculation accuracy and efficiency. Whether calculated manually or using computer tools, calculating heart rate is one of the important steps in ECG analysis and is of great significance for assessing heart health and formulating treatment plans.

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