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Asystole is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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Absence of ventricular electrical activity


  • An end-stage rhythm, sometimes degrading from:
    • Prolonged bradycardia
    • Prolonged ventricular fibrillation (VF)
    • Prolonged pulseless electrical activity
  • Patient is extremely unlikely to survive when asystole occurs outside the hospital:
    • ∼40% will have return of spontaneous circulation and survive to hospital admission, but <15% survive to hospital discharge.
  • Prognosis is similarly poor for those patients who develop asystole after countershock for ventricular tachycardia/VF; <10% survive to hospital discharge.
  • Potentially reversible causes include:
    • Hypoxia
    • Hypovolemia (blood loss)
    • Acidosis
    • Hyperkalemia
    • Hypokalemia
    • Drug overdose
    • Hypothermia
    • Pulmonary embolism
    • Myocardial infarction
    • Tension pneumothorax
    • Cardiac tamponade

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* When formatting your citation, note that all book, journal, and database titles should be italicized* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Asystole ID - 307503 ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307503/all/Asystole PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -