Hi, welcome to our video
series on electrocardiograms.
This one is the most
serious of all, this is asystole.
That means nothing is going on in the heart.
Now at this point, we all
know this is a normal ECG,
but what happens if it looks like this instead?
From the get go, this clearly looks
very scary, but what does it mean?
Let's find out together.
This ECG is asystole.
Now when you compare it to a normal sinus rhythm
(B), you can see they're completely different.
a- means "without", -systole is the phase of
the heartbeat when the heart muscle contracts,
and blood pumps from the
chambers into the arteries.
So asystole means "without pumping".
So we can't do the seven steps.
There's no discernible electrical
activity on the ECG monitor.
So consequently, it's
sometimes referred to as flatline.
Always assess your patient.
Okay, keep in mind that this may not be asystole.
So that's why it's so important that you
are on your A game, that you're ready to
go immediately to your patient and
assess them to see what's going on,
because there are some other reasons
that you might see this lack of electrical activity
on a strip that are not asystole.
There might be some loose or disconnected
leads, maybe the ECG monitor has lost power,
or there's some reason there's a
loss of signal gain on the ECG monitor.
The important thing is, immediately
go to your patient and assess them.
If this is asystole, we'll talk about what you do,
but you want to rule out that the leads are connected.
If the patient can talk to you, they are not in
You'll need to problem solve with something else.
Now in this one, we are still putting the chart in
because we wanted to stay consistent with you
so you can look at the major differences.
So a normal P wave in a normal sinus rhythm.
No P waves - we don't have
any discernible waves in asystole.
So while the rhythm is regular in normal sinus
rhythm, and just might vary with respirations,
there is not anything going on in asystole.
So we couldn't say the ventricular rhythm is
regular because the heart is not even pumping blood.
There is no ventricular activity.
Now in normal sinus rhythm, the
rate range between 60 and 100.
Remember, nothing is going on in
asystole, the heart is not pumping blood,
so we can't measure the heart rate.
There is no rhythm, you can't discern a P or a QRS.
There's no PR because we
don't have any discernible waves,
and we have no discernible QRS complexes.
That is the basic overall
structure of why this is asystole.
Now there's one point we
wanted to bring to your attention.
It's really difficult sometimes to differentiate
between ventricular fibrillation and asystole.
Remember, the ventricular fibrillation
is just like a little bit of squiggly,
but asystole should be no electrical activity.
So be aware, sometimes this is very
difficult to differentiate between the two,
and the treatment options for
the two are also very different.
Hey, thanks for watching
this part of our video series.