Introduction to Arrhythmias
|Author(s)||J.S.S.G. de Jong|
|Moderator||J.S.S.G. de jong|
|some notes about authorship|
Arrhythmias (non-normal heart rhythms) can be a challenge to the person who tries to understand them. But with a systematical approach, diagnosis is often less difficult than it seems at the beginning.
A good stepwise approach to interprete the heart rhythm is to follow these steps:
- What is the ventricular heart rate?
- >100 bpm = tachycardia
- <60 bpm = bradycardia
- are there extra beats? -> Ectopic Beats
- Cherchez le P, French for find the P waves.
- What is the relationship between P waves and QRS complexes?
- What is the QRS width?
- If the QRS < 120ms (i.e. a narrow complex), then it is either a sinus arrhythmia, supraventricular rhythm or a junctional tachycardia. In tachycardias, this flowchart will lead to the right diagnosis.
- If the QRS > 120ms it is either a ventricular tachycardia or a supraventricular rhythm with additional bundle branch block. This is a challenging difficulty in arrhythmia diagnosis, therefore a flowchart might help, which incoporates the Brugada criteria for VT. Another method to discriminate VT from SVT has been proposed by Vereckei et al. In the editorial on that paper an excellent review is given on the subject by Dendi and Josephson.
- What is the Heart Axis and did it change?
- If the heart axis turns significantly when compared to the heart axis during sinus rhythm a ventricular origin of the rhythm is more likely.
- What is the clinical setting?
- A wide complex tachycardia in a hemodynamically instable 70 year old man with previous myocardial infarction should be concidered a ventricular tachycardia until proven otherwise
- A wide complex tachycardia in a 24 year old women with recurrent spells of tachycardia the respond to vagal manouevres is most likely an AVNRT with aberrant conduction.
- Blomström-Lundqvist C, Scheinman MM, Aliot EM, Alpert JS, Calkins H, Camm AJ, Campbell WB, Haines DE, Kuck KH, Lerman BB, Miller DD, Shaeffer CW, Stevenson WG, Tomaselli GF, Antman EM, Smith SC Jr, Alpert JS, Faxon DP, Fuster V, Gibbons RJ, Gregoratos G, Hiratzka LF, Hunt SA, Jacobs AK, Russell RO Jr, Priori SG, Blanc JJ, Budaj A, Burgos EF, Cowie M, Deckers JW, Garcia MA, Klein WW, Lekakis J, Lindahl B, Mazzotta G, Morais JC, Oto A, Smiseth O, Trappe HJ, and European Society of Cardiology Committee, NASPE-Heart Rhythm Society.. ACC/AHA/ESC guidelines for the management of patients with supraventricular arrhythmias--executive summary. a report of the American college of cardiology/American heart association task force on practice guidelines and the European society of cardiology committee for practice guidelines (writing committee to develop guidelines for the management of patients with supraventricular arrhythmias) developed in collaboration with NASPE-Heart Rhythm Society. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2003 Oct 15;42(8):1493-531.
- Brugada P, Brugada J, Mont L, Smeets J, and Andries EW. A new approach to the differential diagnosis of a regular tachycardia with a wide QRS complex. Circulation. 1991 May;83(5):1649-59. DOI:10.1161/01.cir.83.5.1649 |
- Vereckei A, Duray G, Szénási G, Altemose GT, and Miller JM. Application of a new algorithm in the differential diagnosis of wide QRS complex tachycardia. Eur Heart J. 2007 Mar;28(5):589-600. DOI:10.1093/eurheartj/ehl473 |
- Dendi R and Josephson ME. A new algorithm in the differential diagnosis of wide complex tachycardia. Eur Heart J. 2007 Mar;28(5):525-6. DOI:10.1093/eurheartj/ehl557 |