About This Site

The Health Care Tattoos database contains tattoo ideas which have been vetted by a paramedic for medical accuracy. Don't ink something onto your body forever without first knowing for certain what it means. Browse this site for tattoo ideas, and submit photos of your medical tattoos for the benefit of others to healthcaretattoos@gmail.com.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


My sincerest gratitude to L.D. for allowing me to post this photo of his tattoo, and my apologies for not getting to it sooner. This is a tattoo tracing of a real life EKG complete with a little bit of artifact (minor electrical interference) which is very common and expected in actual cardiac monitoring. A person wanting a reality feel to their tattoo should consider obtaining an actual EKG under less than ideal conditions (sit upright in a running or moving ambulance perhaps?) and incorporating some of the minor imperfections they find.

One word of caution is to be careful of how tall the QRS complexes are. That's the skinny, spiky part jutting upright the highest from the baseline. If this gets too tall it could indicate Left Ventricular Hypertrophy. If in doubt, email me for a free consultation. My summer activities and winter preps have wound down in intensity and volume, and I should be able to get back to you fairly promptly.

Thank you L.D. for sharing your tattoo photo for the benefit of others!

Riding the T Wave

This was the result of an EKG consult request email, which I think came out really well. The goal was to incorporate some aspect of the ocean in the waveform, and the requester came up with the brilliant idea to turn the T wave into a sea wave. After a bit of trimming and adjusting the tattoo was complete.

***IMPORTANT NOTICE:  The person who received this tattoo intended to adjust the T wave to appear like an ocean wave. The T wave is the final shape in the heartbeat (which in this case obviously looks like a wave of water). If you desire a normal EKG waveform without coastal imagery, this is still a fine place to start. Check out part I of my EKG primer for more information on the normal sinus rhythm.

Thank you E.W. for allowing me to post this tattoo.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Simple EKG

This is an EKG tattoo sent back to me after a consulting email:

This tattoo is of a very simple and elegant EKG showing one sinus heartbeat. All waves look appropriately sized and are aesthetically pleasing.

Tips:  The QRS (the sideways Z shaped wave in the middle of the tattoo) must be kept as narrow as possible to avoid giving the appearance of a damaged heart muscle. I am told this can be difficult to accomplish without the ink running. Make sure you have a conversation with your artist about keeping the QRS complex as narrow as possible.

For free health care tattoo consulting, or to submit photos of your own tattoos to be displayed on this site for the benefit of others searching for tattoo ideas, email healthcaretattoos@gmail.com.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

About This Site

My first post at stupidheartrhythms.blogspot.com

Hello, my name is Drew Rinella. I am a paramedic with a special pet peeve: bad EKGs. Several years ago I began a crusade against bad and wrong EKGs used in advertising in a blog at https://stupidheartrhythms.blogspot.com. In the process of making fun of some bad EKG tattoos, I accidentally stumbled into discovering that there is great interest in this topic.

I welcomed people to begin emailing me for EKG tattoo consulting. Simply, I would let them know if their EKG drawing was accurate or inaccurate, and help them determine which part of their EKGs would look best for something they intend to etch into their flesh forever.

In doing so, I found that most people do not get these tattoos on a whim as I had originally thought; these tattoos have deep meaning to heir owners. Quite often a child or other loved one has died, and the person I am speaking with wishes to be tattooed with their memory. I have been touched by so many people and their heart breaking stories from all over the world in these past years that I felt a calling to create a database of good and medically accurate tattoo ideas for people to browse through.

I still provide tattoo consulting free of charge at healthcaretattoos@gmail.com. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any question relevant to obtaining medically accurate tattoos. If in the case I don't know the answer, I will do my best to find that information for you. I must provide this disclaimer that I cannot provide medical advice to you, and no patient/provider relationship may be established through this free service. Please scrub all identifying information from any photos you send me, and please don't use full names when describing medical conditions to ensure your anonymity is maximized. Please remember that emails can be and are intercepted by third parties, especially if you are writing to me from outside the US, and that any unencrypted information can be read by others no differently than reading a post card.

To submit photos of your own health care tattoos to be included in the database for the benefit of others, please email them to healthcaretattoos@gmail.com with a note that I have permission to post them to the database. It is also helpful to know if I may or may not use your name for photo credit.

If you are an artist wishing to sell your health care tattoo art through this site, email me at the above address.

Thank you for reading,

Street Anatomy I

Found at Street Anatomy

This anatomical heart tattoo was found over at streetanatomy.com. It shows a dissected heart complete with appropriate vessels and internal structures. Clearly visible are the aorta, pulmonary artery, vena cava, atria, ventricles, valves, and cordae tendinae. Street Anatomy has a number of excellent medical tattoos; I encourage you to go check it out.

Tips: It is a myth that the heart is physically located in the left side of the chest. The heart is located in the center of the chest beneath the sternum, and the large left ventricle hangs off to the left side. Here is a labeled x-ray from "Blogging For Your Noggin" to illustrate the heart's anatomical location:

Found at Blogging For Your Noggin

For free health care tattoo consulting, or to submit photos of your own tattoos to be displayed on this site for the benefit of others searching for tattoo ideas, email healthcaretattoos@gmail.com

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Heart Burn

Seen at www.tattrx.com

This tattoo amalgamates an accurate heart rhythm (sinus rhythm) along with an anatomical heart and flames. The EKG heartbeats march out perfectly all the way through past the part of the rhythm hidden behind the heart, and the heart itself appears to be more or less anatomically correct, despite it being drawn in "They Live" style.

Tips: Eyeballing this heart rate, it may be either slightly lower than normal, or on the low end of normal. The QT interval also appears a bit long. These are incredibly minor and forgivable issues considering the limitless number of bad EKG tattoos out there. When in doubt, ask a health care provider who routinely reads and interprets EKGs.

For free health care tattoo consulting, or to submit photos of your own tattoos to be displayed on this site for the benefit of others searching for tattoo ideas, email healthcaretattoos@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

So Others May Live

Submitted by Chelsea Cibelli

This tattoo pairs a medically accurate sinus rhythm EKG with an italicized expression commonly associated with the emergency services.

Tips: To ensure perfect medical accuracy, ask your artist to keep all P waves equal in shape and low in amplitude.  Also make sure your QRS complexes are proportioned with the remainder of the EKG (This is a difficult thing to eyeball on skin without the luxury of EKG paper grid lines. When in doubt, ask a paramedic, nurse, or doctor who frequently reads and interprets EKGs.). For more information on creating accurate EKG tattoos, check out the Sinus Rhythm EKG Primer by clicking here.

For free health care tattoo consulting, or to submit photos of your own tattoos to be displayed on this site for the benefit of others searching for tattoo ideas, email healthcaretattoos@gmail.com