Medication or Drug Class




Antidysrhythmics Inotropic drugs

Varies with drug Varies with drug

Lidocaine is the treatment of choice for ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation that persists after defibrillation; others are bretylium, magnesium sulfate, procainamide, atropine, adenosine, esmolol, propagator, acebutolol

Dopamine, dobutamine, amrinone, milrinone

Control dysrhythmias; drug depends on type of injury

Increase contractility if failure occurs

Other Drugs: Intravenous opiates such as morphine sulfate may be required in the acute phase for comfort and rest.


During recovery, nursing interventions focus on conserving the patient's energy. Activity restrictions, including bedrest, may be necessary for a short period of time (usually 48 to 72 hours) to decrease myocardial oxygen demands and to facilitate healing. Discuss the need for activity restriction with the patient and family.

The young adult trauma patient presents a challenge to the nursing staff. Provide age-appropriate diversionary activities to reduce anxiety. If the patient is a high school student, note that the hospital may be overwhelmed with peers from the local high school who are interested in visiting the patient, particularly if the injury was associated with a school event (prom, football game, party) and if the injury is life-threatening. Work with the parents and principal to arrange for a visitation schedule so that both the patient's and the hospital's needs are met.

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