Dr. Bill Hayden and AUC Student Jonathan Barney Develop New ECG Manual for First Responders

Dr. Bill Hayden, Professor of Clinical Medicine, and 4th-year AUC student Jonathan Barney have co-authored a new 80-page ECG manual for first responders


Dr. Bill Hayden, Professor of Clinical Medicine, and 4th-year AUC student Jonathan Barney have spent the last several months studying the health impacts of educating first responders on electrocardiograms or “ECGs.” After an initial publication in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS), their work evolved into a larger (and more involved) project: a manual for first responders. Last week, just two months after their first article, Dr. Hayden and Jonathan published ECG for First Responders, an 80-page educational guidebook designed to provide emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and other first responders with the basics of ECG interpretation.

In ECG for First Responders, Dr. Hayden and Jonathan use the “Primary Survey” approach to teach first responders how to read ECG signals in order to quickly identify and alert hospitals to life-threatening cardiac emergencies. Understanding and communicating such issues can help receiving hospitals activate special personnel and resources, reduce treatment delays, and improve overall health outcomes. The manual is accompanied by a set of practice cases as well as a companion YouTube video that reviews each case, shares notable findings, and explains the basics of reading an ECG.

ECG for First Responders builds on Dr. Hayden’s expertise in emergency medicine and training. In addition to supervising ICM small groups, Dr. Hayden often hosts after hours workshops for students interested in ECG interpretation and practice. He brought Jonathan, a former student with a background in EMS, into the project in October—a partnership he describes as “ideal.” The two spent the majority of their winter finalizing the manual and submitting the necessary paperwork for publication.

“It’s taken a lot of time and effort but it has paid off,” said Jonathan. “We are proud of how it turned out, and plan to create a sequel in the future to focus on more advanced ECG interpretation.”

An electronic version of the manual is currently available for Amazon Kindle. A paperback edition will be released shortly.