Nurses ignored mom's constant VT. Is her life in danger? ?
she was in surgery step down for a freak accident
broken arm for 3 days. she was a high-risk patient to operate on due to sickle cell, 30% heart function, and hypertension. they operated successfully with conscious sedation with no complications.
she refused any kind of pain medication except for a "blocker" they used in the ER and before OR. her cardiologist told her that constant pain would be stress on her weak heart. arm didnt hurt at all. she looked the healthiest she'd been in months until the nurses stopped taking care of her last night.
her hip is hurting a TON because the nurses abandoned her and I was taking care of her all day; I was giving her the bedpan and my untrained method of getting it under her caused her muscle to become extremely sore.
ever since the hip pain started, the ECG was showing CONSTANT erratic non-sustained VT and it only stopped when she fell asleep.
the nurses are NOT responding to ANY emergency alarms. when I went into the hallway looking for help out of concern for my mother's heart rhythm, there was not a soul in sight. no one responds to the call button. when I finally got ahold of any nurse and told her about the VT she said it was "fine".
the VT consisted throughout the night and the morning. next thing I know she's moved to a room at the end of the hall with NO MONITORS ready to discharge to her rehab center. i'm scared she's going to randomly code in the middle of the night with no one knowing (I was forced to go home)
- JasonLv 73 months ago
Non-sustained VT that doesn't cause symptoms (chest pain, decreased BP, dizziness, etc.) is not an emergency. There are people walking around every day who have runs of non-sustained VT all the time. I see boatloads of them in our clinic.
You said she has a cardiologist and a "weak heart" which leads me to believe she has a known, significant heart condition. Non-sustained VT is a common finding in cardiomyopathy (having a weak heart). Again, not something that usually gets us all hot & bothered.
The thing that jumps out at me is you said "CONSTANT, erratic non-sustained VT."
NSVT is neither constant nor erratic. If it's constant, it's sustained VT. If it's erratic, it's not VT.
That fact that you said it was constant while she was awake and stopped when she went to sleep tells me that this likely was not VT at all -- it was motion artifact on the monitor from her moving around because she was in pain. VT is not erratic but motion artifact is.
Monitors will alarm for artifact that looks like VT even if it isn't. Alarms are not accurate. That's why those monitors are observed by trained individuals. It sounds to me like she was in pain and moving around and that kept setting off her monitor alarm -- happens daily on every single unit with heart monitors. That's fairly obvious to someone who knows what they're looking at and it's nothing that needs addressing. In fact, a big part of working on a step-down/telemetry unit is recognizing what needs attention and what can be ignored. You'd be surprised at just how many monitors are totally unnecessary.
She was likely moved to an unmonitored unit/room because she was not having any true ectopy and the constant alarming was causing more problems than it solved. That also happens all the time.
Without the actual ECG tracing, it's impossible to say, but after 20 years in critical care, I can say I have heard your story LOTS of times before. I suspect she is fine just like the nurse said and your response is a result of simply not being well versed in cardiac monitoring.Source(s): Respiratory therapist (B.S., RRT, RPFT) -- I run the pulmonary lab at one of the largest heart hospitals in the world Working on my masters in nursing
- Pearl LLv 73 months ago
maybe you should switch her to another hospital