Celebratory Excess Drinking Causes Atrial Arrhythmias

It's New Year's Eve and the ball is about to drop. You and your partner respond to a party that's been going for several hours to care for a person who's dizzy. Making your way through the streamers and horns, you're ushered to a back bedroom where you're introduced to Uncle Bill. Uncle Bill is 52 years old and lying on the bed. He looks up at you and says, "Something's not right, boys." You reach to feel his pulse and ask what he means by his statement. You note the smell of alcohol on his breath as he tells you the evening was going great until he suddenly felt faint and his heart began to race. He sat down and had a glass of water but the symptoms remained. His sister helped him to the bedroom and called 9-1-1. He tells you he never actually passed out nor did he fall or injure himself, and, when asked, he tells you nothing like this has ever happened before. His pulse is about 130 and irregular. His skin is cool and clammy and he's "a little short of breath." Uncle Bill reports a past medical history of hypertension controlled with Prinivil (lisinopril) and high cholesterol treated with Zocor (simvastatin). He also says he's a borderline diabetic but isn't medicated for that condition. When asked about alcohol consumption, he says, "Hey, it's New Year's Eve, of course I've been drinking!" but then says he rarely ever drinks alcohol in excess. Uncle Bill's blood pressure is 100/68 and a dextrose stick reveals a blood glucose level of 200 mg/dL...
Source: JEMS Patient Care - Category: Emergency Medicine Authors: Tags: Cardiac & Resuscitation Toxicology Columns Source Type: news

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