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Bradycardia vs Tachycardia

Nurses   (1,324 Views 13 Comments)
by hanakimi4 hanakimi4 (New) New

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Which is more life-threatening bradycardia or tachycardia?

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twinmommy+2 is a ADN, BSN and specializes in ED.

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It would depend on how tachy or how brady the patient is. Both can be equally life threatening.

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MunoRN has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Critical Care.

6,364 Posts; 65,607 Profile Views

"Neither" and "Both" are equally correct.

Both of those terms simply refer to a HR within a common range or outside of a common range. Depending on the factors affecting a patient's perfusion and cardiac output demands, a HR of 55 might be more than enough for one person, but life threatening for another. Likewise, a HR of 130 might be totally appropriate in someone under high physiological stress, but unsustainable for someone else.

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Coffee Nurse has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

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It would depend on how tachy or how brady the patient is. Both can be equally life threatening.

Also depends on what's causing it.

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That Guy has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN, EMT-B and specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab.

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I always say too fast is better than not enough but that comes with a big asterisk.

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JadedCPN has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

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Assuming this is a homework question like it appears to be, how about you tell us your thoughts first?

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1,875 Posts; 21,606 Profile Views

I always say too fast is better than not enough but that comes with a big asterisk.

I dunno. I've seen some perfuse ok with a hr of 29-40, hypertensive, but some not tolerate 160 at all. No time for the ventricles to fill.tend to get hypotensive

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1,648 Posts; 17,414 Profile Views

What are your thoughts on the matter?

What is the context of the question?

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That Guy has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN, EMT-B and specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab.

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I dunno. I've seen some perfuse ok with a hr of 29-40, hypertensive, but some not tolerate 160 at all. No time for the ventricles to fill.tend to get hypotensive

Thats why it comes with a big asterisk. It doesn't apply to all situations.

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1 Follower; 1,319 Posts; 12,294 Profile Views

As a practical matter, I'd rather treat too slow than too fast. Less to think about, differential list is shorter, overall easier to treat IMO

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psu_213 has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant.

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What is the context of the question?

I am curious to find this out as well. Short answer: both can be not so bad, both can be really bad. It depends on how high or low and on the overall clinical picture.

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Rocknurse is a MSN, APRN, NP and specializes in Critical Care and ED.

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Both can cause unstable hemodynamics and it's the unstable hemodynamics that kill, not the blood pressure itself. It's all about the oxygenation, and if that's not happening then it's over. A tachycardia can turn to V Fib which is lethal, and sinus brady can turn to worse sinus brady and then asystole which is not compatible with life.

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