Cardiac Dysrhythmia Assessment and Management


Cardiac dysrhythmia (an arrhythmia) is a term for any of a large and heterogeneous group of conditions in which there is abnormal electrical activity in the heart. The heart beat may be too fast or too slow, and may be regular or irregular.

Dysrhythmia Manifestations and Complications:

  1. Cardiac Arrest
  2. Heart failure – following prolonged dysrhythmia
  3. Thromboembolism, related to the dysrhymia, atrial fibrillation


Patient Care and Assessment

The following are assessed to allow determination of dysrhythmic hemodynamic effect.

  1. regular blood pressure assessment
  2. regular pulse rate assessment
  3. regular assessment of heart rhythm
  4. assessment of respiration depth
  5. assessment of breath sounds


Continue to assess the patient for the following:

  1. light-headedness
  2. dizziness
  3. syncope episodes
  4. if patient is hospitalized a 12 lead ECG is obtained
  5. EKG rhythm strips are continually analyzed to track the dysrhythmia


Treatment and Management:

  1. re-establishing normal cardiac rhythm
  2. decreasing incidence of dysrhythmia occurrence
  3. maintain cardiac output
  4. minimize associated anxiety
  5. patient education as to dysrhythmia management and treatment
  6. Antiarrhythmic medications
  • control incidence of dysrhythmia
  • control effect of dysrhythmia
  • constant therapeutic medication blood serum levels are maintained at all times


Assessment of dysrhythmic contributing or exacerbating factors:

  1. caffeine
  2. stress
  3. nonadherence to medication regime

Day et al. 2010. Textbook of Canadian Medical-Surgical Nursing. 2nd ed. Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins. Philadelphia.

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