Last reviewed: November 2017
Last updated: November  2017

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • family history of sudden cardiac arrest
  • pulmonary disease
  • medications which prolong the QT interval or cause electrolyte disturbances
  • illicit substances
  • trauma
  • chest pain
  • palpitations
  • syncope
  • presence of other risk factors

Other diagnostic factors

  • hypertension
  • hypercholesterolemia
  • diabetes mellitus
  • kidney disease
  • family history of coronary artery disease
  • valvular heart disease
  • elevated jugular venous pulse
  • heart murmur
  • abnormalities on auscultation of lungs
  • tracheal deviation
  • neurologic deficits
  • history of eating disorders

Risk factors

  • coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • left ventricular dysfunction
  • hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
  • arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD)
  • long QT syndrome (LQTS)
  • acute medical or surgical emergency
  • Brugada syndrome
  • smoking

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • ECG
  • CBC
  • basic metabolic panel
  • ABG
  • cardiac biomarkers
  • toxicology screen
  • CXR
  • echocardiogram
  • coronary angiography
Full details

Investigations to consider

  • cardiac magnetic resonance imaging
  • signal-averaged ECG (SAECG)
  • electrophysiologic study
Full details

Treatment algorithm

Contributors

Authors VIEW ALL

Professor and Department Head of Emergency Medicine

Cumming School of Medicine

University of Calgary

Alberta Health Services

Calgary

Canada

Disclosures

EL served as a consultant to the American Heart Association providing methods support using GRADE for cardiac arrest guidelines published in Circulation and Resuscitation in October 2015.

Professor Eddy Lang would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Amar Krishnaswamy and Dr Arman T. Askari, previous contributors to this topic. AK and ATA declare that they have no competing interests.

Peer reviewers VIEW ALL

Professor of Medicine

Division of Cardiology

University of California

San Francisco

CA

Disclosures

VM declares that he has no competing interests.

Instructor

NYU Department of Medicine (Cardiology)

Leon H Charney Heart Rhythm Center and New York University

New York

NY

Disclosures

AA declares that he has no competing interests.

Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer/Consultant

Department of Cardiology

Imperial College London

London

UK

Disclosures

MFP declares that he has no competing interests.

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