ECG Question #18


The nurse is caring for a client following exploratory laparotomy. Blood pressure is discernable at 32 mm Hg systolic. Although activity is seen on the electrocardiogram (ECG), the nurse is unable to obtain a pulse. Which priority action(s) should the nurse initiate? (Select all that apply.)


  1. Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
    • Rationale:
  2. Provide defibrillation
    • Rationale:
  3. Administer epinephrine
    • Rationale:
  4. Provide synchronized cardioversion
    • Rationale:



This client is experiencing pulseless electrical activity (PEA). The most common causes of PEA are hypovolemia and hypoxia. The nurse must perform a pulse assessment in order to identify PEA. Similar to asystole, PEA is treated by CPR, defibrillation, and epinephrine however cardioversion is contraindicated.

Learning Outcomes

Test Taking Tip

Video Rationale