Acute tachyarrhythmias: Emergency nursing management

CPD hours:

Tachyarrhythmias are abnormal, fast heart rhythms that may result from ventricular or supraventricular changes to the electrical conduction system of the heart.

They are often well tolerated, but have the potential to cause unpleasant symptoms, physiological instability, and rapid deterioration.

Treatment of acute tachyarrhythmias is dependent on their cause and client condition and range from routine monitoring and symptomatic support to electrical or pharmacological cardioversion and advanced life support.

The following module will outline the identification and early management of acute tachyarrhythmias. It begins with a review of cardiac electrophysiology and progresses into an overview of common supraventricular and ventricular tachycardias and their ECG features.

Participants will study the treatment algorithm for tachyarrhythmias and will gain a practical understanding of possible initial interventions such as Valsalva manoeuvres and synchronised cardioversion.

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At the end of this eLearning Activity participants will be able to:

  • Understand the electrical and mechanical properties of the heart and the cardiac electro-conduction system.
  • Discuss the physiological effects of persistent tachycardia.
  • Identify the features of narrow versus wide QRS complex tachycardias.
  • Describe the most common arrhythmias and basic aspects of their treatment.
  • Follow treatment algorithms for the appropriate emergency management of tachyarrhythmias.
  • Understand the principles behind and assist with performing Valsalva manoeuvres and synchronised cardioversion.

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

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