A prehospital treat-and-release protocol for supraventricular tachycardia

Minhas R, Vogelaar G, Wang D, Almansoori W, Lang E, Blanchard IE, Lazarenko G, McRae A.



Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a common dysrhythmia treated in the prehospital setting. Emergency medical service (EMS) agencies typically require patients treated for SVT to be transported to the hospital. This retrospective cohort study evaluated the impact, paramedic adherence, and patient re-presentation rates of a treat-and-release (T+R) protocol for uncomplicated SVT.


Data were linked from the Alberta Health Services EMS electronic patient care record (EPCR) database for the City of Calgary to the Regional Emergency Department Information System (REDIS). All SVT patients treated by EMS between September 1, 2010, and September 30, 2012, were identified. Databases were queried to identify re-presentations to EMS or an emergency department (ED) within 72 hours of T+R.


There were 229 confirmed SVT patient encounters, including 75 T+R events. Of these 75 T+R events, 10 (13%, 95% confidence interval [CI] [7.4, 23]) led to an EMS re-presentation within 72 hours, and 4 (5%, 95% CI [2.1, 13]) led to an ED. All re-presentations were attributed to a single individual. After excluding 15 records that were incomplete due to limitations in the EPCR platform, 43 of 60 (72%) T+R encounters met all protocol criteria for T+R.


The T+R protocol evaluated in this study applied to a significant proportion of patients presenting to EMS with SVT. Risk of re-presentation following T+R was low, and paramedic protocol adherence was reasonable. T+R appears to be a viable option for uncomplicated SVT in the prehospital setting.