Ventricular Tachycardias: Characteristics and Management

Crit Care Nurs Clin North Am. 2016 Sep;28(3):317-29. doi: 10.1016/j.cnc.2016.04.004. Epub 2016 Jun 22.


Ventricular tachycardias include ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, and torsades de pointes; although these rhythms may be benign and asymptomatic, others may be life threatening and lead to increased morbidity and mortality. To optimize patient outcomes, ventricular tachycardias need to be rapidly diagnosed and managed, and often the electrocardiogram (ECG) is the first and only manifestation of a cardiac defect. Understanding of the initial electrocardiographic pattern and subsequent changes can lead to early intervention and an improved outcome. This article describes mechanisms, ECG characteristics, and management of ventricular tachycardias.

Keywords: Arrhythmia; Electrocardiogram; Nursing; Torsades de pointes; Ventricular tachycardias.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management*
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Torsades de Pointes / diagnosis*
  • Torsades de Pointes / physiopathology
  • Torsades de Pointes / therapy
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / diagnosis
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / therapy