It would not be a normal day if someone didn’t have a fatal dysrhythmia. So of course, it should have been on the oldest, fattest, most out of shape patient that I would have had all day. With that said, it was the youngest, healthiest patient that we dealt with all day.
Ventricular Tachycardia is a fabulous heart problem that can and usually is fatal. It is a very fast rhythm that does not allow the upper chambers and lower chambers of the heart to effectively push blood into the vascular system. It will kill you if it is not treated quickly.
Without boring you with science, lets move on. It is bad.
So i get called to a bull crap mid twenty something kid. He was complaining of chest pain. So of course we think this is an “I need attention call.” It is my job and I am pretty good at it. I am to throw out perceptions. Treat all chest pain calls like they are having a heart attack until proven otherwise.
So I am chatting with this kid, and we is chatting back. He denies alcohol, drugs, smoking and states that he has no medical history. He is on a continual cardiac monitor. He is in a normal rhythm and his heart is beating along at 76 beats per minute. He does not appear to be having a STEMI. He does not have a complaint of shortness of breath.
We are rolling to the hospital and in mid sentence, this guy stops talking. He appears to hold his breath and in a brief second and right in front of me, he goes unconscious. As a paramedic this sucks, it is now game on. I check the monitor and notice he is in this lethal dysrhythmia. I do my paramedic thing and since he is unconscious, I can swear out loud.
I throw on the big pads, and prepare to do the hollywood and weld (shock, defib, cardiovert) and as I watch 20 seconds and all the alarms are going off, this guy looks at me through pale eyes and says in a weakened voice “I don’t feel so well.”
So he has regained consciousness and at the same time he has converted out of the rhythm. By this point I am already sweating and had throw some stuff around in the ambulance like a mad man. My partner asked me if we should pull over for rescue to help us. I of course paused for a brief second then said “uh no we are good”
So for what seems like a billionth time recently I have had the very paramedic level calls and felt like I was actually making a difference. I am mostly glad though that I have the next four days off from being a medic on the streets.