What rhythms do I need to know for ACLS class

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    I'm taking my ACLS class in 2 weeks and am nervous about the rhythms I'll need to know. I'm a new grad, and in school we spent 1 class on it. I've studied EKG basics, but Im not good at recognizing rhythms. I'm so confused about all the different leads, and how in some, negative deflections are normal. I get that its all about the electrodes, the direction of the impulse, traveling to negative or positive, but.... I still get so confused. I'm studying from EKGs Made Incredibly Easy, which is helpful. I'll study the ACLS book when it arrives. What should I focus on in my studies? Which Rhythms? VF, VT, SVT, asystole and what else? I'm finding the concept of algorithms relatively easy. The rationales. Like, give epi, then amiodarone to prevent REfibrillation. So I'm pretty OK in that area. The rhythms are causing me a lot of anxiety though. For example, I can't tell the difference b/w A-fib and premature atrial contractions. And some rhythms, I'm thinking "is that the t wave or the p?, when there is only one positive wave after a qrs complex. So confused
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  4. 1
    This is a good tool for practicing EKG's! ECG Simulator | SkillStat Learning - Fast, Fun and Effective!
    You need to know: Vfib, Vtach, asystole, sinus rhythms (brady, tach, NSR), the heart blocks (1st degree, 2nd degree (both types), and 3rd degree), afib and a flutter, and what PVC's look like. (You also look at MI and stroke)
    MORE important though is being able to look at your patient, their sx, vitals, LOC and say- is this person stable or unstable- what do I do now?
    Last edit by scrubsandasmile on Jan 13, '13 : Reason: misspelled word
    GrnTea likes this.
  5. 1
    You should have been given an AHA ACLS password or book to do homework prior to taking the class. It will give you the information about rhythms you need to know, and I believe there is a pre-class pretest. If you didn't receive this, ask your instructor or company conducting the class. They might structure the class differently.
    scrubsandasmile likes this.
  6. 0
    As dudette10 said, you should receive an AHA ACLS manual and pre-course preparation information. There is a huge amount of information in the book, and it will guide you through what you need to know. I would definitely set aside a decent amount of time to study the book - it is not a quick read, and to do the online exercises (if your class requires this). You will learn how to assess the patient's condition and the book will give you information about the rhythms, which you will need to be able to recognize on an EKG. You will learn appropriate ACLS algorithms in regard to the different rhythms that include medications, defibrillation, cardioversion and pacing. There is a lot to learn, but in my opinion it is a very valuable learning experience.
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    You should recieve a manual that will let you know. in my ACLS it didn't ask heart blocks or anything like that. It was identifying Aystole (Pretty obvious), SR, ST,SVT, SB, VFIB, VTACH and what to do in those situations.
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    I take that back, i think it may have asked heart blocks in the test booklet portion. just not the testing out portion
  9. 1
    You just have to know the major rhythms. The blocks and stuff aren't really covered so much. If you want a good example of what you should know, go to the pre-course test. You have to complete it anyway prior to taking the class, and it's a good way to base your knowledge.

    Oh, and waveform capnography. Study it.

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    Hope this helps :-)
    en1024 likes this.
  10. 1
    All of the above are correct. If you are nervous, check out this site acls-algorithms . It is a pay site but does have a few free areas to browse to review the mega code, etc. Good for first timers to feel more confident. Good Luck!
    en1024 likes this.
  11. 2
    Just shock til you recognize it...
    scrubsandasmile and HouTx like this.
  12. 0
    Thank you for your replies everyone. As I mentioned in my OP, I had to wait for my ACLS book to arrive. It came today I'll be studying my butt off.


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