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What is an irregular heart beat???

First Year   (2,360 Views 4 Comments)
by deenasao deenasao (New Member) New Member

1,353 Visitors; 19 Posts

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Is an irregular heart rate anything that strays (consistently) from the usual bum-bump rhythm? Like, sometimes a pause or a double beat but then it goes back to normal?

Or is it only when there is a more serious problem?

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fiveofpeep has 2 years experience and works as a RN.

17,670 Visitors; 1,237 Posts

that is kind of a hard question to answer on here. It sounds like you need to review rhythm interpretation.

rhythms may be irregular due to ectopy alone, if the underlying rhythm is sinus for example with lots of PACs or PVCs

rhythms may also be irregular as an underlying rhythm such as with afib or 2nd degree av blocks

irregularity does not always mean something sinister, especially if it's the patient's baseline. It's more about figuring out if it's new, if the patient is symptomatic, and if we are doing anything about it.

Like I said, thats a tough question to answer. It's more something you should review on your own with a good book or class.

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stripec30 works as a RN.

4,242 Visitors; 173 Posts

Bump...bump...bump......bump....bump.bump......

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600 Visitors; 5 Posts

I got a good grasp of a baseline regular rhythm listening to patients with all of the various valve regurgitation sounds, stenotic swooshes, loud lung sounds and dim heart sounds. I listen longer when there is more noise and try to pick out the s1 and s2. If the amount of time between the sounds is the same it is not irregular. It gets more complicated with extra beats but with time and practice you will notice there is an underlying time to it, kind of like a metronome. I've been fortunate enough to have had coworkers willing to verify my assessments and even get me to listen to some of their more interesting ones. If you listen for a minute or two and cant keep time in your head to the S1 and S2 sounds see if your patient is symptomatic and hopefully you can get someone to verify it with you or hook up a monitor or EKG.

There are far more experienced folks here that could explain it better but that's a start at least and its worked well for me.

Good Luck.

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