My patient just had a run of ventricular tachycardia (VT) at a rate of 120 beats/min lasting 18 seconds without any symptoms. Does this arrhythmia meet the criteria for nonsustained VT (NSVT) and what is its significance?

Although NSVT is often defined as 3 (sometimes 5) or more consecutive beats arising below the atrioventricular node with a heart rate >100 beats/min lasting <30 s, this definition is not universal. Other definitions of NSVT include >120 beats/min using a duration cutoff of 15 s,  or at times no strictly defined diagnostic criteria1.  

NSVT can be observed in a variety of individuals, ranging from apparently healthy people to those with significant heart disease.  Whether NSVT provokes sustained life-threatening arrhythmias or is merely a surrogate marker of a more severe underlying cardiac pathology is unclear in most clinical settings 1

Because our patient  meets the generally observed criteria for NSVT, we should exclude an underlying occult pathology responsible for the arrhythmia and, in the case of known cardiac disease,  risk-stratify the patient for appropriate management2.  

The prognostic significance of NSVT is heavily influenced by the type and severity of underlying heart disease.  Patients with NSVT in the setting of >24 h post-acute myocardial infarction and those with chronic ischemic heart disease with left ventricular ejection fraction <40%  have a less desirable prognosis2. The management of patients with NSVT is generally aimed at treating the underlying heart disease.

References

  1. Katritsis DG, Zareba W, Camm AJ. Nonsustained ventricular tachycardia. J Am Coll Cardiol 2012;60:1993-2004. http://www.onlinejacc.org/content/60/20/1993
  2. Katritisis DG, Camm AJ. Nonsustained ventricular tachycardia: where do we stand? Eur Heart J 2004;25:1093-1099. https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/25/13/1093/465312
My patient just had a run of ventricular tachycardia (VT) at a rate of 120 beats/min lasting 18 seconds without any symptoms. Does this arrhythmia meet the criteria for nonsustained VT (NSVT) and what is its significance?

Which patients outside of ICU setting should be placed on telemetry monitoring in the hospital?

Telemetry monitoring should be used in patients at increased risk of arrhythmias during hospitalization (1). While the American Heart Association provides expert opinion on telemetry for a variety of cardiac conditions (1), a more recent review (2) makes suggestions for common cardiac and non-cardiac diagnoses based on arrhythmia risk.

Telemetry is recommended for patients admitted for implantable cardioverter- defibrillaor firing, second or third degree AV block, prolonged QT interval with ventricular arrhythmia, acute heart failure, acute cerebrovascular event,  acute coronary syndrome and massive blood transfusion.

Telemetry may be beneficial in syncope with arrhythmia as a suspected cause, gastrointestinal hemorrhage after endoscopy, atrial arrhythmias on rate or rhythm control therapy, electrolyte imbalance and subacute congestive heart failure.

Telemetry is not generally indicated in chest pain with normal EKG and cardiac markers, COPD exacerbation, PE if the patient is stable and on anticoagulation, and cases requiring minor blood transfusion. 

 

References 

(1) Drew BJ, Califf RM, Funk M, et al. Practice standards for electrocardiographic monitoring in hospital settings: an American Heart Association scientific statement from the Councils on Cardiovascular Nursing, Clinical Cardiology, and Cardiovascular Disease in the Young: endorsed by the International Society of Computerized Electrocardiology and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Circulation 2004;110:2721–46. 

(2) Chen EH and Hollander JE. When do patients need admission to a telemetry bed? The Journal of Emergency Medicine 2007:33(1):53-60.

Contributed by Joome Suh, MD, Boston, MA

Which patients outside of ICU setting should be placed on telemetry monitoring in the hospital?