ECG Question #29


The nurse is caring for a client in supraventricular tachycardia who requires carotid massage by the physician. The nurse explains the procedure as:


  1. A method to stimulate the vagus nerve, which will decrease the heart rate through carotid massage.
  2. The carotid nerve passes through the inner abdominal diaphragm
  3. Vagus nerve depression will be performed in order to increase the heart rate
  4. Vagus nerve stimulation is the last resort when medications fail


Carotid massage is among the group of vagal maneuvers that are effective against supraventricular tachycardia. It is performed by the physician via massage beneath the angle of the mandible with the client supine and head tilted slightly. Gentle massage of the carotid area for just a second or two may be effective. Carotid massage is not described as a nerve passing through the diaphragm. Vagal nerve stimulation does not increase the heart rate. Vagal nerve stimulation is not the last resort when medications are ineffective.