Management of supraventricular tachycardia using the Valsalva manoeuvre: a historical review and summary of published evidence

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Abstract

Use of the Valsalva manoeuvre (VM) as a first-line management tool for the reversion of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) in both emergency medicine and prehospital emergency-care settings has presented challenges, requiring continuous examination and refinement to define both its appropriateness and effectiveness. This report details the evolution of knowledge related to SVT and the historical evolution and controversies associated with VM; it also highlights the ongoing development of an evidence-based model of practice for the management of SVT in the emergency medicine and prehospital emergency-care settings. A two-part review of the literature using electronic medical databases was conducted. Other relevant texts or articles unavailable within the electronic search were also identified. Part 1 of the search criteria identified the historical evolution of the pathophysiology of SVT, whereas part 2 identified the use of VM for the clinical management of SVT. Part 1 of the review identified a total of 38 articles with eight meeting the inclusion criteria, and part 2 of the review identified a total of 44 articles with 17 meeting the inclusion criteria. An evidence-based model of practice requires clarification. The differentiation of nodal re-entrant tachycardias may, with further research, lead to identification of the specificity of VM in reversion of SVT during the early stages of arrhythmia. There is a need for further prehospital and emergency department research to quantify an evidence-based approach to VM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346 - 352
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Emergency Medicine
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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