The Things Doctors Do to Help Us

After seeing some of the true rescue stories on my blog, one of my readers thought I'd find this article from the Annals of Emergency Medicine of interest. It deals with a dangerous heart rhythm, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. The abstract reads:

A 71-year-old woman with an episode of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) complicated by angina pectoris and hypotension had her arrhythmia abruptly terminated by digital rectal massage (DRM) after other vagotonic maneuvers had failed. DRM termination of PSVT has not been heretofore reported. In treating PSVT by physical vagotonic maneuvers, DRM may be preferable to other techniques because of the decreased likelihood of complications noted with other such maneuvers.

(Note: "Vagotonic" refers to stimulation of the vagus nerve, rather than what some uninformed and dirty-minded readers might think.)

The article's title: "Termination Of Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia By Digital Rectal Massage". Yes, that means what you think it does, even if you are dirty-minded: the doctor sticks his or her finger (a "digit", medically speaking) in the patient's butt and wiggles it around. And yes, it is a real article: it's listed in the National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine. And it apparently works (though you have to wonder: who thought of trying this the first time?)

My comment to the reader: Are you sure this is from the Annals of Emergency Medicine and not the Anals of Emergency Medicine?

Posted July 31, 2015

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