Polymorphic ventricular tachycardia



Clinical Features

Differential Diagnosis

Wide-complex tachycardia

Assume any wide-complex tachycardia is ventricular tachycardia until proven otherwise (it is safer to incorrectly assume a ventricular dysrhythmia than supraventricular tachycardia with abberancy)

^Fixed or rate-related


  • Evaluate for underlying causes (e.g. electrolyte imbalances, ACS)

ECG Findings

  • Wide QRS (>100ms or 3 small boxes)
  • QRS complexes of varied amplitude, axis and duration
    • Torsades: QRS complexes appear to twist around isoelectric line
  • Rapid rhythm (usually 140-160 bpm, but can be up to 300 bpm)
  • Irregular



See Adult pulseless arrest and Pediatric pulseless arrest


  • Unsynchronized cardioversion (defibrillation) 200J (or 2J/kg for pediatrics)
  • Correct any electrolyte abnormalities


  • Correct any electrolyte abnormalities
  • Torsades:
    • Magnesium sulfate (for Torsades):
      • 1-2gm IV, repeat in 5-15min; then 1-2gm/hr (3-10mg/min) drip
      • Peds: 25-50mg/kg (max 2g) IV
    • Sotalol (100mg IV over 5 minutes)
    • Isoproterenol, 2-8 mcg/min
    • Overdrive Pacing to goal HR 90-120
      • Note that this is only effective for preventing recurrence of TdP - it will not convert TdP to sinus rhythm
    • Avoid procainamide, amiodarone (may further prolong QT)
  • Non-Torsades (baseline QT interval not prolonged)
    • Amiodarone, agent of choice in setting of AMI or LV dysfunction
      • 150 mg over 10min (15 mg/min), followed by 1 mg/min drip over 6hrs (360 mg total), then 0.5 mg/min drip over next 18 hrs (540 mg total)
      • Peds: 5mg/kg (max 300mg), may repeat twice
    • Procainamide
      • 100 mg q5min until termination of arrhythmia, then start 2-6 mg/min (or 1-2 mg/min for renal/cardiac failure)
      • Max dose 17mg/kg OR widening of QRS >50%
    • Lidocaine, 1-1.5mg/kg IV q5min, repeat PRN up to 300mg/hr
    • Beta-blockers (e.g. metoprolol 5mg IV q5m x 3) if blood pressure tolerates



  • Admit with cardiology consult, even if back in normal sinus rhythm
    • Stable patients may be admitted to ward
      • Pads should remain on patient's chest anticipating need for repeat cardioversion
      • All patients should remain on telemetry or full cardio-respiratory monitoring for recurrent events
    • Patients with features of instability or refractory VT are best admitted to CCU or ICU and may require urgent or emergent pacemaker placement

See Also


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