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July 27, 1963

Recognizing Arrhythmias

JAMA. 1963;185(4):29. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060040007004

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Clues for recognizing arrhythmias were outlined at the AMA annual meeting by Dr. Samuel Bellet of Philadelphia.

Although a diagnosis may in some instances be made by simple means, a definitive one is possible only by the electrocardiogram, Bellet said.

Helpful data in making a diagnosis, the physician said, are a history of an irregular or rapid pulse; the presence of a very slow pulse; a history of administration of drugs apt to produce arrhythmias; presence or absence of heart disease, and presence or absence of congestive failure.

A physician may suspect a ectopic rhythm if the patient shows a regular or irregular rhythm when the rate is below 30 or above 140 per minute, according to Bellet. Other factors that may indicate an ectopic rhythm are a history of palpitation or precordial pain with a sudden onset of rapid rate; coincidence of rapid rate with onset of failure; any

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