If heart goes too fast, it’s important to know whether the arrythmia is coming from above the AV node (supreventricular, from above the ventricels) or below it (ventricular). This is because, in general, supraventricular arrythmias give you time to act, as the patient presents awake, breathing and with a pulse. Yes, he or she may be in pain and may feel breathlessness but there is a strong pulse and the system is fighting strong to keep tissue perfusion. On the other hand, a ventricular arrythmia may be catastrophic with no cardiac output, therefore no pulse, which means you must act inmediately. How do we know then? Is it a supraventricular or ventricular tachycardia? You can get enough data from the patient presentation and history, but the EKG also holds an importan key: The QRS complex. Check it out!
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-The Plague Doctor