Two deaths after prehospital use of adenosine

J Emerg Med. 2001 Aug;21(2):151-4. doi: 10.1016/s0736-4679(01)00358-4.


Two patients in the prehospital setting died immediately after receiving adenosine for presumed supraventricular tachycardia. Both patients' cardiac rhythms were atrial fibrillation rather than supraventricular tachycardia, and their unstable conditions resulted from underlying diseases-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary embolism-rather than the tachycardia. Misinterpretation of the cause of tachycardia as well as the electrocardiographic findings may be responsible for adverse outcomes.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / adverse effects*
  • Aged
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / adverse effects*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis*
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Electrocardiography
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Errors*
  • Middle Aged
  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular / diagnosis


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Adenosine