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How Not To Kill Your Young Patient with Afib

SBHPP Speaker - Jennifer Carlquist
By: Jennifer Carlquist, PA-C, ER CAQ

This 19-year-old male presented to the ER feeling like his heart was going to “come out of his chest.” He has mild chest pain and mild dyspnea. During his history review, he denies drug use. VS: 114/90, RR 14, 97.8, 99%. He denies any medical history or medications. This is a tough case because at first glance, this could look regular. And if it is not, what is a 19-year-old doing with Atrial fibrillation, an “old “person’s disease?


His UTOX was negative. His labs, including a TSH, were all normal. His CXR was normal as well.
His second ECG reveals a clue. He has a delta wave, which is significant for WPW. It is common for young people with WPW to have AF with RVR, and nodal blockers are absolutely not to be used as they will force the electrical impulse down the aberrant pathway making the tachycardia worse. His second ECG was done after he was given IV procainamide. He underwent urgent ablation and is doing well.

See Jennifer Carlquist, PA-C, ER CAQ speak at a 2021 Skin, Bones, Hearts and Private Parts CME Conference in DestinMyrtle BeachVirginia BeachChicagoPensacola BeachSan AntonioOrlandoAtlanta, or Las Vegas.