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J Vet Intern Med. 2005 Jul-Aug;19(4):533-6.

Effect of body position on feline electrocardiographic recordings.

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University of Bristol, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, Langford House, Langford, BS40 5DU, UK.


The aim of this study was to determine whether changes in body position alter feline electrocardiographic parameters. Forty-seven cats referred to the Feline Unit of the University of Bristol had electrocardiograms (ECGs) recorded. Only cats presenting in sinus rhythm were included in the study (n = 41). ECGs were recorded either as part of the investigation for potential cardiac disease (n = 38) or as a preanesthetic screen (n = 3). Standard 6-lead ECGs (leads I, II, III, aVR, aVL, and aVF) were recorded in 3 different recumbent positions in the 41 cats. Recordings were 1st made in right lateral (RL) recumbency, followed by sternal (ST) and then left lateral (LL) recumbency. Measurements were taken of the amplitude and duration of P waves and QRS complexes and duration of PQ and QT intervals from lead II was taken in the 3 different positions. Mean electrical axis (MEA) also was calculated. Repeated measures analysis of variance was performed and identified a significant difference in R wave amplitudes (P = .009) and MEA (P = .037) among the 3 different body positions. Two-tailed paired t-tests demonstrated that the R wave amplitude differed significantly both in ST (P = .025) and LL recumbency (P = .009). The mean R wave amplitude was reduced in both ST and LL recumbency when compared with RL recumbency. The MEA only was significantly different in LL recumbency (P = .037). ST and LL recumbencies should not be used for recording ECGs in cats if amplitudes and MEA are to be compared with standard references.

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