Measurements of heart activity

What are my objectives while studying this topic?

The heart is the central organ within the circulatory system. You will study the structure of the heart and the specialized cells that make up the tissues forming the heart. This will help you understand the function of the heart within the cardiac cycle. You will also study the composition of the blood and how its content is maintained in the circulatory system.

Why is this important?

Fitness and healthcare professionals measure and monitor heart function and the control of the blood flowing to and from the rest of the body by taking physiological measurements. These measurements assist professionals improve the well being and performance of an individual’s circulatory system as well as diagnosing cardiovascular diseases.

Can I get an introduction to this topic?

Yes, why not have a look at the following links:

What are the main points to grasp?

Heart Attack

Lifestyle plays a part in determining heart conditions, blood pressure and heart activity.

There are ethical considerations made in the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of heart patients.

Heart Attack 2

What will I be expected to be able to do after studying this topic?

  • Analyse and interpret heart-pressure data

  • Analyse and interpret ECG traces


Take a look at the following link to help you get an understanding of different analysis methods:

Heart Monitor

What are the key words to learn and use for this topic?

  • Systolic pressure

  • Diastolic pressure

  • Electrode

  • Electrocardiogram


Take a look at the following link to get a recap of some of the imaging techniques used to study the heart:

How long will this topic take to study?

On average you’ll be looking at about five hours of taught time and independent study.

What are the main activities on this topic?


Take your own blood pressure. Discuss the correct calibration of instrumentation and examine the degree of error in the equipment used.

You will need to write this experiment up for submission; use the following writing frame to do this:



Analyse data showing the typical and low and high pressure values. Note the factors affecting and medical problems associated with both high and low blood pressures. Compare these with normal values.

Take a look at the following websites to get some background information:


Get some information and prepare speeches for a debate on ethical issues relating to heart transplants etc.


Discuss the diagnostic capability of ECGs for cardiovascular diseases using traces for:

A normal heart beat

Sinus tachycardia


Sinus arrhythmia

Ventricular fibrillation

ECG library of pictures

Revision Notes:

Take a look at the following link; you’ll be able to get some good notes for revision here:

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