ECG for all patients in the PACU: Some say, why? I say, why not?
CPD Hours / Duration
0.5 hour/s
Depends on Membership level

ECG for all patients in the PACU: Some say, why? I say, why not?

Presenter Wendy Newton, Nurse Education Consultant - The Nursing CPD Institute

Wendy is an experienced Registered Nurse with over 30 years of post-graduate experience. During the last 20 years. Wendy has worked in the perioperative environment, primarily as an Anaesthetic Nurse.

Although she has also worked in other areas of the perioperative environment, including endoscopy and as Clinical Nurse in Anaesthetics, relieving the Theatre Manager for periods of leave.

During this time Wendy contributed to ACORNS Standard for the reprocessing of reusable medical devices. More recently she has been working in a Post Anaesthetic Care Unit. 

Currently, she works in Alcohol and Other Drugs as a methadone Nurse while she is working toward a PhD examining the policies concerning animals in Aged Care and how these policies might affect both residents and animals.

Course Content

Currently in many Australian hospitals, electrocardiogram (ECG) leads are removed after the operative process and, despite the machines being freely available in the Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU), they are not connected to all patients.

There are many evidence-based reasons why an ECG would be advantageous for perioperative patient safety, including the detection of often asymptomatic conditions such as myocardial injury after non-cardiac surgery (MINS) and new-onset atrial fibrillation, which has been shown to increase the risk of stroke. Advantages may also be seen in saving precious minutes in a cardiac arrest, and the ability for nurses to constantly observe ECG rhythms strips as a learning tool.

The aim of this discussion paper is to challenge health care professionals’ thinking about the use of ECG monitoring for the entire perioperative journey and inspire readers to implement this patient safety initiative.

Recommended Citation
Foran, Paula (2020) "ECG for all patients in the PACU: Some say, why? I say, why not?," Journal of Perioperative Nursing: Vol. 33 : Iss. 2 , Article 6. Available at: This Discussion paper is brought to you for free and open access by Journal of Perioperative Nursing. It has been accepted for  inclusion in Journal of Perioperative Nursing by an authorized editor of Journal of Perioperative Nursing.

Target Audience

Learning Outcomes

In this session you will:

  • Explore the use of ECG in the immediate post-operative environment
  • Review the improved outcome for patient management
  • Investigate the implications for the PACU Nurse clinician
  • Discuss possible objections to routine ECG monitoring