SVT, or supraventricular tachycardia, is by far the most common of all heart arrhythmias, and for most people is not life-threatening. Most people will have an SVT in their lives that starts and ends abruptly with no apparent cause, and generally no intervention is required. SVT can usually be stopped by vagal maneuvers, but in extreme cases drug therapy or even cardioversion can be required.
Vera and Beatrice are spending a morning working in the office when Vera starts to feel ill. She opens a window to try to get some fresh air (which leads to an interesting camera shot from outside the building), and when that doesn’t seem to help, she exits the office (presumably to visit the restroom). When she returns, her condition has not improved. Beatrice quickly checks Vera’s pulse, makes a phone call and then offers Vera some water. Vera takes a few sips, but she continues to deteriorate.
When it becomes more evident that Vera is dizzy, Beatrice helps lay her out on the floor and makes a second phone call. EMTs arrive and begin attaching leads to Vera’s bare chest and start oxygen for her. When the first round of drug therapy does not have the desired effect, Vera is given a sedative and the EMTs begin to attempt cardioverting the rhythm. After a few shocks, Vera’s heart falters, requiring CPR, additional drugs, and more defibrillation. After several minutes of effort, Vera’s heart rhythm is restored but she is still having difficulty breathing as she is loaded up for transport to the hospital.
This video has a few really good things going for it. The treatment of SVT is very accurate, with the exception of vagal maneuvers which are generally tried as the patient is being given oxygen and attached to monitors. As an actress, Vera responds very well to artificial respiration and her defibs are not overly-dramatic. As is common with much of OPandER’s work, there are multiple camera angles shown of the resuscitation efforts, including my favorite top-down or “bird’s eye” view.
My only real criticism is that the compressions could have been better. The compressions are more of a “rocking” motion rather than a straight vertical thrust. This is likely due to the desire to make the actress playing Vera more comfortable than a lack of knowledge of proper techniques; the compressions are administered by Nicky, and we have seen her perform perfect, deep chest compressions on many patients through the years. There is some abdominal extension from the compressions, but not as much as there would be had the compressions been performed at the proper depth and angle.
Where this video truly shines though is in its gradual build up to arrest. There are about ten minutes of Vera’s condition worsening, complete with heavy gasping and trembling. This is a great video for fans that truly enjoy a long scene full of symptoms, followed by resuscitation efforts.