Free Case Study On Arrhythmias
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An arrhythmia is any heart rhythm that is different from the normal sinus rhythm that is controlled by the heart’s atrioventricular (AV) node (Lévy & Olshanksy, 2013). The AV node, located in the upper portion of the right atrium, contains specialized cells that participate in automaticity of the cardiac muscle; the cells of the AV node control the rhythm of the heart on their own by releasing specific action potentials (Lévy & Olshanksy, 2013).
Patients present with symptoms that are common in other disorders, such as heart palpitations, dizziness, lightheadedness, syncope, chest discomfort, dyspnea, high blood pressure, and weakness (Lévy & Olshanksy, 2013). These symptoms can cause secondary health conditions, such as a fall in the case of 71-year-old female patient I saw during my clinical hours. Health care clinicians will diagnose a patient with an arrhythmia after a taking an extensive medical history that leads them to request an electrocardiogram; the electrocardiogram can definitively diagnose the arrhythmia. When the patient is positively diagnosed with an arrhythmia, the health care specialist will offer either a device or pharmaceutical treatment (Lévy & Olshanksy, 2013).
The goal of treatment is to alleviate symptoms and to prevent a life-threatening arrhythmia that can result in death. In the case of the elderly woman, her doctor prescribed Diltiazem 180 mg PO daily and Metoprolol 50 mg QHS. Diltiazem is a Class IV Agent that blocks impulses and reduces blood pressure and heart rate (Antiarrhythmics). Metroprolol is a Class II Agent that acts in the same way as the Class IV Agents (Antiarrhythmics). Treatment may initiated and resolved by a specialist to more closely monitor the arrhythmia, as there can be very serious side-effects of treatment. Patients should be seen regularly by their primary care physician or specialist to make sure their condition has not worsened and that their therapy is working efficiently.
Antiarrhythmics. (2009, December 1). Retrieved January 19, 2015, from
Lévy, Samuel, & Olshanksy, Brian (2013). Arrhythmia management for the primary care
clinician. In L.I. Ganz (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved from http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html
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