In general there are two methods whereby a student may learn to read electrocardiograms. The first, and older method, is to memorize patterns using one of the atlases available for this purpose. This requires brute memory and much experience. Some have become very proficient by this means, but it is very costly of effort.
The second method which dates mainly from the Frank Wilson era is that of expending the initial effort to learn basic principles. The theoretical background thus accuired obviates pattern memorization, and provides a more versatile interpretive ability, since patterns not previously observed or committed to memory may, nevertheless, be accurately read. This is the method adopted by the authors of this book through its five editions. and it has made it an outstandingly valuable and popular text for the beginner in electrocardiography.
The term "primer" used by the authors should not be interpreted as suggesting a