Asystole is an ACLS cardiac arrest rhythm where no electrical activity is present on an ECG. This condition is known as a "flat line". An important step in ACLS Protocol is determining true presence of an Asystole condition, as light Ventricular Fibrillation can also appear to have very little electrical activity. The Asystole rhythm is not a shockable rhythm, and should be treated according to the appropriate steps in the ACLS Algorithm for Cardiac Arrest. Other masked indication of an Asystole condition can be from operator error, or equipment failure, so ensure accurate diagnosis before beginning treatment.
Specific common things to look for that caused masked indication of Asystole Rhythm:
- Loose or disconnected leads
- Loss of power to the ECG monitor
- Low signal gain on the ECG monitor
A vasopressor is a medication that produces vasoconstriction. Vasoconstriction helps increase blood flow to the brain and the heart as it increased blood pressure. This is helpful during CPR as increased flow to the heart and brain is essential when the heart itself is not pumping correctly. Epinephrine is the primary vasopressor used because of its vasoconstrictive effects, though vasopressin may also be used and has shown to be nearly as effective as epinephrine.