Practical Use of the Latest Standards for Electrocardiography (PULSE)

Principal Investigators 

  • Barbara J. Drew, RN, PhD, FAAN, FAHA - Professor at UCSF School of Nursing
  • Marjorie Funk, RN, PhD, FAHA, FAAN - Professor at Yale University School of Nursing (NHLBI Grant)

UCSF Site Coordinators

  • Cass Piper, RN, MS, CCRN, CNS
  • Elise Hazlewood, RN, MS, CNS
  • Noraliza Salazar, RN, MS, CCNS

The PULSE Trial is a NIH-funded, 5-year (2008-2013), multi-site, randomized clinical trial about implementing practice standards for ECG monitoring and examining the effect on nurses’ knowledge and skills, quality of care and patient outcomes. The long-term aim is to improve nursing practices related to ECG monitoring in hospital settings for better detection and diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmias, myocardial ischemia and drug-induced prolonged QT syndrome.  Sixteen participating national / international hospitals (including UCSF Medical Center) are involved in this trial.

Despite advances in hospital electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring technology, monitoring practices are inconsistent and often inadequate. Barbara Drew, RN, PhD from the UCSF School of Nursing spear-headed American Heart Association practice standards to improve hospital ECG monitoring. We are now implementing these practice standards in two units at UCSF (10ICC and 10CVT) in a study called the PULSE Trial (Practical Use of the Latest Standards for Electrocardiography). 

Nurses complete an education intervention that is web-based and unit “champions” assist in changing and improving practice. If implementation of the practice standards is associated with improvement in quality of care and patient outcomes, then there is the potential for improved care and outcomes for the millions of patients who require continuous ECG monitoring while hospitalized.