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Arrhythmias during anesthesia

Emily Methangkool, MD
Aman Mahajan, MD, PhD
Section Editor
Jonathan B Mark, MD
Deputy Editor
Nancy A Nussmeier, MD, FAHA


Intraoperative arrhythmias are common; nearly 11 percent of patients experience an abnormal heart rhythm during general anesthesia [1,2]. Both tachyarrhythmias (heart rate [HR] >120 beats per minute [bpm]) and bradyarrhythmias (HR <40 bpm) occur. While most intraoperative arrhythmias are transient and clinically insignificant, they may indicate underlying pathology (eg, myocardial ischemia, electrolyte abnormalities). Occasionally an arrhythmia causes intraoperative hemodynamic instability and postoperative morbidity.

This topic reviews etiologies, recognition, and acute management of intraoperative cardiac arrhythmias. Other topics address advanced cardiac life support and further treatment of specific arrhythmias:

(See "Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) in adults".)

(See "Overview of the acute management of tachyarrhythmias".)

(See "Sinus bradycardia".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 10, 2017.
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