Mechanism of Slow-Fast AVNRT
Sinus tachycardia with P waves at the end of the T-wave. Theses can be less obvious and the EKG can be mistaken for AVNRT or AVRT
Atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response. Not the lack of visible P waves and irregularity that make the diagnosis.
Atrial flutter with 2:1 conduction. Rate of 150 and fairly obvious flutter waves are present.
Atrial flutter with 2:1 conduction. Flutter waves are not overtly obvious, but the rate of 150 bpm helps suggest atrial flutter. Treatment with diltiazem will slow conduction and help reveal the flutter waves and treat the rate.
Atrial flutter with 1:1 conduction. The rate of 300 and regularity of QRS complexes helps confirm the diagnosis.
AVNRT. A regular, narrow-complex tachycardia without obvious P-waves.
AVRT in a patient with WPW. A regular, narrow-complex tachycardia without obvious P-waves.
Junctional tachycardia. Retrograde P-waves are obvious before the QRS complexes but they are not always visible.
Atrial fibrillation with WPW. Note the extremely rapid rate, 300 bpm at times, the wide QRS complexes and varying QRS morphologies. These features confirm the diagnosis.
Another example of atrial fibrillation with WPW. This is difficult to distinguish from polymorphic ventricular tachycardia.
1. Patient sitting upright on stretcher
2. Patient blows into syringe for 15 seconds
3. At 15 seconds quickly lay patient supine and elevate the legs


    Alabed S, Sabouni A, Providencia R, Atallah E, Qintar M, Chico TJ. Adenosine versus intravenous calcium channel antagonists for supraventricular tachycardia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Oct 12;10:CD005154. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005154.pub4.
    Appelboam A, Reuben A, Mann C, Gagg J, Ewings P, Barton A, Lobban T, Dayer M, Vickery J, Benger J; REVERT trial collaborators. Postural modification to the standard Valsalva manoeuvre for emergency treatment of supraventricular tachycardias (REVERT): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2015 Oct 31;386(10005):1747-53. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)61485-4.
    Bibas L, Levi M, Essebag V. Diagnosis and management of supraventricular tachycardias. CMAJ. 2016;188(17-18):E466–E473. doi:10.1503/cmaj.160079
    Hafeez Y, Armstrong TJ. Atrioventricular Nodal Reentry Tachycardia (AVNRT) [Updated 2019 May 14]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from:

This is part 2 of a 2 part series called “how we make easy airways harder”. In this episode I focus on improving endotracheal intubation and avoiding common errors that make airway interventions less likely to be successful.

Airway Checklist Examples

Anything worse than grade 2a is ideally managed using a bougie. Image:
Grade 3a should be optimized if possible but can usually be managed using a bougie. Grade 3b cannot be intubated and must be optimized.


This is part 1 of a 2 part series called “how we make easy airways harder”. In this episode I focus on improving basic airway skills and avoiding common errors that make airway interventions less likely to be successful.

Ear-to-sternal-notch positioning
Patient sitting upright with ear-to-sternal notch positioning. Known as back up, head elevated (BUHE)
The ideal mask seal using a BVM. The index and middle fingers pull the mandible forward maintaining airway patency.


In this episode I discuss prehospital management of traumatic cardiac arrest, broken into penetrating and blunt. In recent years the pendulum has swung away from a nihilistic approach towards one that maximizes outcomes in the highest number of patients. This requires taking a standardized, aggressive approach when treating viable patients with traumatic arrest. In penetrating traumatic arrest, addressing reversible causes based on the location of the injury is essential. This primarily means hemorrhage control and volume restoration (ideally with blood products). It may also mean chest decompression (ideally with finger thoracostomy) for treatment of pneumothorax or hemothorax.

In blunt arrest it is more difficult to determine an underlying cause of arrest so a rehearsed, pre-planned “bundle” of care directed at reversible causes should be delivered early. Chest compressions should not be expected to be effective until volume is restored or tension physiology is reversed. This approach is attributed by most people to Dr. John Hinds.

Primary interventions include:

  1. Aggressive control of external hemorrhage.
  2. Maintenance of airway and ensuring oxygenation, ideally with intubation
  3. Decompression of both sides of the chest, ideally with finger thoracostomy but needle thoracostomy at minimum
  4. Application of a pelvic binder
  5. Reduction of all long bone fractures


    Scott Weingart. EMCrit Podcast 135 – Trauma Thoughts with John Hinds. EMCrit Blog. Published on October 19, 2014. Accessed on May 24th 2019. Available at [ ].
    Traumatic cardiac arrest: a unique approach. Harris T, Masud S, Lamond A, Abu-Habsa M. Eur J Emerg Med. 2015 Apr;22(2):72-8. doi: 10.1097/MEJ.0000000000000180. Review.
    Konesky KL, Guo WA. Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2018 Dec;44(6):903-908. doi: 10.1007/s00068-017-0875-6. Epub 2017 Nov 25.
    Escutnaire J, Genin M, Babykina E, Dumont C, Javaudin F, Baert V, Mols P, Gräsner JT, Wiel E, Gueugniaud PY, Tazarourte K, Hubert H; on behalf GR-RéAC. Resuscitation. 2018 Oct;131:48-54. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2018.07.032. Epub 2018 Jul 27.
    Evans CC, Petersen A, Meier EN, et al. Prehospital traumatic cardiac arrest: Management and outcomes from the resuscitation outcomes consortium epistry-trauma and PROPHET registries. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2016;81(2):285–293. doi:10.1097/TA.0000000000001070

On this quick episode I discuss hyperkalemia, a life-threatening condition commonly missed by out-of-hospital providers. It is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of hyperkalemia as these patients may require prompt treatment to prevent fatal dysrhythmias.

    Durfey N, Lehnhof B, Bergeson A, et al. Severe Hyperkalemia: Can the Electrocardiogram Risk Stratify for Short-term Adverse Events?. West J Emerg Med. 2017;18(5):963–971. doi:10.5811/westjem.2017.6.33033
    Lehnhardt A, Kemper MJ. Pathogenesis, diagnosis and management of hyperkalemia. Pediatr Nephrol. 2011;26(3):377–384. doi:10.1007/s00467-010-1699-3
    Ryuge A, Nomura A, Shimizu H, Fujita Y. Warning: The ECG May Be Normal in Severe Hyperkalemia. Intern Med. 2017;56(16):2243–2244. doi:10.2169/internalmedicine.6895-15

(ECGs from Smith’s ECG Blog

Subtle hyperkalemia indicated by peaked T-waves and ST segment flattening in V3-V5
Hyperkalemia indicated primarily by peaked T-waves in V2-V4
Wide QRS and significantly peaked T-waves indicating hyperkalemia
Substantially widened QRS with sine wave morphology indicating severe hyperkalemia

Severe Crashing Acute Pulmonary Edema (SCAPE) is a life threatening complication of heart failure. In this episode, I discuss the pathophysiology and modern treatment modalities with flight paramedic and medical student Michael Perlmutter.


    Agrawal N, Kumar A, Aggarwal P, Jamshed N. Sympathetic crashing acute pulmonary edema. Indian J Crit Care Med. 2016;20(12):719–723. doi:10.4103/0972-5229.195710
    Hsieh YT, Lee TY, Kao JS, Hsu HL, Chong CF. Treating acute hypertensive cardiogenic pulmonary edema with high-dose nitroglycerin. Turk J Emerg Med. 2018;18(1):34–36. Published 2018 Feb 2. doi:10.1016/j.tjem.2018.01.004
    Levy P, Compton S, Welch R, Delgado G, Jennett A, Penugonda N, Dunne R, Zalenski R. Ann Emerg Med. 2007 Aug;50(2):144-52. Epub 2007 May 23
    Paone S, Clarkson L, Sin B, Punnapuzha S. Am J Emerg Med. 2018 Aug;36(8):1526.e5-1526.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2018.05.013. Epub 2018 May 10.
    Scott Weingart. EMCrit Podcast 1 – Sympathetic Crashing Acute Pulmonary Edema (SCAPE). EMCrit Blog. Published on April 25, 2009. Accessed on July 10th 2019. Available at
    IMAGE 2 – Pathophysiology of heart failure, Image from CORE EM
    IMAGE 3 – Spiral of death in heart failure, Image from

In this episode, I discuss the use of ketamine for pain in the prehospital setting. There are many subtleties to ensuring that you get the effect you want from the drug and minimize adverse effects.

Katamine does based on desired effect
Ideal body weight calculation

    Vadivelu N, Schermer E, Kodumudi V, Belani K, Urman RD, Kaye AD. Role of ketamine for analgesia in adults and children. J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol. 2016;32(3):298–306. doi:10.4103/0970-9185.168149
    Kurdi MS, Theerth KA, Deva RS. Ketamine: Current applications in anesthesia, pain, and critical care. Anesth Essays Res. 2014;8(3):283–290. doi:10.4103/0259-1162.143110
    Subdissociative-Dose Ketamine for Analgesia Annals of Emergency Medicine , Volume 71 , Issue 3 , e35


Katamine does based on desired effect
Ideal body weight calculation