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What an emergency physician needs to know about acute care of cardiac arrhythmias

Author(s): Stellbrink Christoph

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

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 126;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Arrhythmias | emergency treatment | antiarrhythmic drugs

The treat of cardiac arrhythmias has been studied extensively in the last decades. There has been a major shift in antiarrhythmia treatment from drugs to interventional electrophysiological procedures and implantable devices. Published data indicate that for long-term treatment of arrhythmias, non-pharmacological treatment is more effective than drugs in many patients. Similarly, the overhelming success of radiofrequency catheter ablation of supraventricular tachycardias has almost eliminated the need for chronic drug treatment. Today, catheter ablation plays an increasingly important role in the prevention of atrial fibrillation recurrences. However, in the emergency room or in the intensive care unit, drug treatment remains the gold standard for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are very common in emergency medicine, occurring in 12% to 20% of all patients in an intensive care unit and there is great need for good diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms to aid the emergency physician dealing with patients suffering from arrhythmias
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