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Tachyarrhythmias, bradyarrhythmias and acute coronary syndromes

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Author(s): Trappe Hans-Joachim

Journal: Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock
ISSN 0974-2700

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 137;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Acute coronary syndrome | bradyarrhythmias | defibrillation | electrostimulation | tachyarrhythmias

ABSTRACT
The incidence of bradyarrhythmias in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is 0.3% to 18%. It is caused by sinus node dysfunction (SND), high-degree atrioventricular (AV) block, or bundle branch blocks. SND presents as sinus bradycardia or sinus arrest. First-degree AV block occurs in 4% to 13% of patients with ACS and is caused by rhythm disturbances in the atrium, AV node, bundle of His, or the Tawara system. First- or second-degree AV block is seen very frequently within 24 h of the beginning of ACS; these arrhythmias are frequently transient and usually disappear after 72 h. Third-degree AV blocks are also frequently transient in patients with infero-posterior myocardial infarction (MI) and permanent in anterior MI patients. Left anterior fascicular block occurs in 5% of ACS; left posterior fascicular block is observed less frequently (incidence < 0.5%). Complete bundle branch block is present in 10% to 15% of ACS patients; right bundle branch block is more common (2/3) than left bundle branch block (1/3). In patients with bradyarrhythmia, intravenous (IV) atropine (1-3 mg) is helpful in 70% to 80% of ACS patients and will lead to an increased heart rate. The need for pacemaker stimulation (PS) is different in patients with inferior MI (IMI) and anterior MI (AMI). Whereas bradyarrhythmias are frequently transient in patients with IMI and therefore do not need permanent PS, there is usually a need for permanent PS in patients with AMI. In these patients bradyarrhythmias are mainly caused by septal necrosis. In patients with ACS and ventricular arrhythmias (VTA) amiodarone is the drug of choice; this drug is highly effective even in patients with defibrillation-resistant out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. There is general agreement that defibrillation and advanced life support is essential and is the treatment of choice for patients with ventricular flutter/fibrillation. If defibrillation is not available in patients with cardiac arrest due to VTA, cardiopulmonary resuscitation is mandatory.
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