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J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2010 Apr;3(2):129-36. doi: 10.4103/0974-2700.62111.

Concept of the five 'A's for treating emergency arrhythmias.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology and Angiology, University of Bochum, Germany.

Abstract

Cardiac rhythm disturbances such as bradycardia (heart rate < 50/min) and tachycardia (heart rate > 100/min) require rapid therapeutic intervention. The supraventricular tachycardias (SVTs) are sinus tachycardia, atrial tachycardia, AV-nodal reentrant tachycardia, and tachycardia due to accessory pathways. All SVTs are characterized by a ventricular heart rate > 100/min and small QRS complexes (QRS width < 0.12 ms) during the tachycardia. It is essential to evaluate the arrhythmia history, to perform a good physical examination, and to accurately analyze the 12-lead electrocardiogram. A precise diagnosis of the SVT is then possible in more than 90% of patients. In ventricular tachycardia (VT) there are broad QRS complexes (QRS width > 0.12 s). Ventricular flutter and ventricular fibrillation are associated with chaotic electrophysiologic findings. For acute therapy, we will present the new concept of the five 'A's, which refers to adenosine, adrenaline, ajmaline, amiodarone, and atropine. Additionally, there are the 'B,' 'C,' and 'D' strategies, which refer to beta-blockers, cardioversion, and defibrillation, respectively. The five 'A' concept allows a safe and effective antiarrhythmic treatment of all bradycardias, tachycardias, SVTs, VT, ventricular flutter, and ventricular fibrillation, as well as of asystole.

KEYWORDS:

Bradycardia; bradyarrhythmias; five ‘A’ concept; supraventricular arrhythmias; tachycardia; ventricular arrhythmias

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