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January 2019 Critical Care Case of the Month: A 32-Year-Old Woman with Cardiac Arrest

Sarah A. Watkins, DO1

Geoffrey Smelski, PharmD1

Robert N.E. French, MD1

Michael Insel, MD2

Janet Campion MD2

1Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center and 2Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ USA


Critical Care Case of the Month CME Information

Completion of an evaluation form is required to receive credit and a link is provided on the last page of the activity. 

0.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™

Estimated time to complete this activity: 0.50 hours

Lead Author(s): Sarah Watkins, DOAll Faculty, CME Planning Committee Members, and the CME Office Reviewers have disclosed that they do not have any relevant financial relationships with commercial interests that would constitute a conflict of interest concerning this CME activity.

Learning Objectives: As a result of completing this activity, participants will be better able to:

  1. Interpret and identify clinical practices supported by the highest quality available evidence.
  2. Establish the optimal evaluation leading to a correct diagnosis for patients with pulmonary, critical care and sleep disorders.
  3. Translate the most current clinical information into the delivery of high quality care for patients.
  4. Integrate new treatment options for patients with pulmonary, critical care and sleep related disorders.

Learning Format: Case-based, interactive online course, including mandatory assessment questions (number of questions varies by case). Please also read the Technical Requirements.

CME Sponsor: The University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson

Current Approval Period: January 1, 2019-December 31, 2020

Financial Support Received: None


History of Present Illness

A 32-year-old woman with history of chronic neck pain and opioid abuse complained of dizziness and palpitations shortly before suffering a witnessed cardiac arrest in her home. She was given bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation until emergency medical services arrived on scene, at which point intermittent polymorphic ventricular tachycardia with a pulse was noted on the cardiac monitor and physical exam (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Rhythm strips showing ventricular tachycardia (A) and a prolonged QT interval (B).

Which of the following is (are) the most likely cause(s) of the cardiac arrythmia? (Click on the correct answer to be directed to the second of seven pages)

  1. Cardiomyopathy
  2. Coronary artery disease
  3. Drug-induced arrythmia
  4. 1 and 3
  5. All of the above

Cite as: Watkins SA, Smelski G, French RNE, Insel M, Campion J. January 2019 critical care case of the month: A 32-year-old woman with cardiac arrest. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2019;18(1):1-7. doi: PDF

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