Thursday, 26 September 2013

Gavin Smith talks about how paramedics deal with SupraventricularTachycardia

Gavin Smith 125PhD candidate Gavin Smith, Pre-Hospital, Emergency & Trauma Group (PETG) presented his work to an assembled group of doctoral students and professors yesterday.

Gavin has been working with Ambulance Victoria on how paramedics deal with supraventricular tachycardia, more commonly known as SVT. This term refers to a sudden increase in a patient’s heartbeat, an alarming phenomena many paramedics have to deal with.

“This may be a non-event in a hospital environment with all the tools and procedures they have there, but in pre-hospital care it’s a different story,” Gavin explained.

The result of Gavin’s study suggests that the Valsalva maneuver is the most effective non-pharmaceutical way of reverting SVT. This maneuver involves the patient shutting their mouth and pinching their nose closed, and then blowing out as hard as they can, as if into a balloon. Performing this action triggers an automatic nervous control of the heart.

This action is especially effective if performed in the supine position – lying down on the back with the face up.

Gavin is also in the process of looking at drugs which target SVT. He is particular interested in studying the effects of Adenosine, which is a safer alternative to a drug that is often used, Verapamil.

Gavin is also associate editor of the Australasia Journal of Paramedicine and Unit Coordinator of ‘Sociology in Paramedicine’ at Victoria University.

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