Continuing Medical Education

An approach to the patient with a suspected tachycardia in the emergency department

Ashley Chin, Brian Vezi, Mosedi Namane, Hellmuth Weich, Rob Scott-Millar

Abstract


Patients present to the emergency department with either an ongoing tachycardia or a history suspicious of a tachycardia. Either way, the
tachycardia needs to be documented, preferably on a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) for diagnosis and management. If a tachycardia
is not documented, a careful history of the palpitations should be taken to see if further monitoring and investigations are required. If a
tachycardia is confirmed on an ECG, the clinician needs to classify it according to two variables: (i) regularity of the rhythm; and (ii) QRS
width. This will allow a differential diagnosis to be made.


Authors' affiliations

Ashley Chin, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Brian Vezi, Ethekwini Hospital, Durban, South Africa

Mosedi Namane, Vanguard Community Health Centre, Cape Town, South Africa

Hellmuth Weich, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tygerberg Hospital, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

Rob Scott-Millar, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

Tachycardia; Emergency

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(3):246-250. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i3.10322

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-11-10
Date published: 2015-11-26

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