Clinical Communications: Adult| Volume 64, ISSUE 5, P628-634, May 2023

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Intra-Cardiac Arrest Use of Stellate Ganglion Block for Refractory Ventricular Tachycardia



      Refractory ventricular dysrhythmia, or electrical storm, is a cardiac condition consisting of three or more episodes of ventricular dysrhythmia resistant to treatment within a 24-hour period. These dysrhythmias carry high morbidity and mortality if not diagnosed and abated promptly. When traditional resuscitative algorithms fail to return a patient to a perfusing rhythm, providers need to consider other, more novel techniques to terminate these dangerous dysrhythmias. One approach is the use of a stellate ganglion block, which has been documented in the literature only a handful of times for its resuscitative use in cardiac arrest.

      Case Series

      This case series details two cases from an urban emergency department (ED) in a large metropolitan city, where the use of ultrasound-guided stellate ganglion blocks during cardiac arrest provided successful ablation of the tachydysrhythmia. The first case involves a patient who went into cardiac arrest while in the ED and was found to be in refractory pulseless ventricular tachycardiawhile. The second case describes a patient who went into a witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest while with emergency medical services.

      Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This?

      The stellate ganglion block is a procedure currently being used as a treatment modality for a variety of neurologic, psychological, and cardiac conditions. This intervention may provide a viable and lifesaving option for emergency physicians to adopt when traditional resuscitative algorithms fail to break resistant ventricular tachydysrhythmias.


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