Pulseless Ventricular Tachycardia

Pulseless Ventricular Tachycardia

Ventricular Tachycardia

The pulseless ventricular tachycardia rhythm is primarily identified by several criteria. First, the rate is usually greater than 180 beats per minute and the rhythm generally has a very wide QRS complex.

Second, the patient will be pulseless and third, the rhythm originates in the ventricles. This is in contrast to other types of tachycardias which have origination above the ventricular tissue (in the atria).

Not all ventricular tachycardias are pulseless and therefore, pulselessness must be established prior to beginning an algorithm. This is accomplished simply by checking a carotid or femoral pulse.

Pulselessness with a tachyarrhythmia occurs because the ventricles are not effectively moving blood out of the heart and there is therefor no cardiac output. Many tachyarrhythmias of a rate >150 will deteriorate into pulselessness if timely treatment is not given.

Pulseless ventricular tachycardia is treated using the left branch of the pulseless arrest arrest algorithm. Click below to view the pulseless arrest algorithm diagram. When done click again to close the diagram.
Pulseless Arrest Algorithm Diagram.

Play the video below to see what a Pulseless Ventricular Tachycardia will generally look like on a defibrillator monitor. Allow several seconds for video to load.


  1. Kar11968 says

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    • says

      You should only check for pulse if you do a rhythm check and there is a rhythm change and the rhythm could be a perfusing rhythm.
      For instance, if the rhythm check shows bradycardia or tachycardia, you would check for a pulse. If the rhythm changes from pulseless ventricular tachycardia to ventricular fibrillation or asystole, you would not check a pulse, but immediately continue CPR.

      Kind regards,

  2. cpate22 says

    I, too, enjoy the music. It snags the interest just slightly above the level of which the topic itself is limited. :):):)

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