Tachycardia is a common clinical occurrence in the ED. Most of the time the etiology can be discerned through the history and physical exam, but sometimes it cannot. This is problematic especially when we are about to discharge a patient home but his/her heart rate is still 115 beat/min. We can’t send this patient home yet. Do we then have to admit them for work-up of persistent tachycardia?
Attached is a list of common causes of tachycardia in the ED, as well as potential diagnostic and therapeutic considerations. Rather than a shot-gun approach, a limited and thoughtful method works best.
Can you think of other potential causes?
PV Card: Approach to Persistent Tachycardia
Go to the ALiEM Cards site for more resources.
This useful PV card was made by one of our new star faculty members at San Francisco General Hospital, Dr. David Thompson. Thanks, David!