Which lab studies are performed in the diagnosis of ventricular tachycardia (VT)?

Updated: Dec 05, 2017
  • Author: Steven J Compton, MD, FACC, FACP, FHRS; Chief Editor: Jeffrey N Rottman, MD  more...
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Assess electrolyte levels of all patients with ventricular tachycardia (VT), including serum potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphate levels. Ionized calcium levels are preferred to total serum calcium levels. Hypokalemia is a common VT trigger and is commonly seen in patients taking diuretics. Hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, and hypocalcemia may predispose patients to either monomorphic VT or torsade de pointes.

In accordance with the clinical history, measure serum levels of therapeutic drugs (eg, digoxin, tricyclic antidepressants). Toxicology screens (eg, for methamphetamine, methadone, cocaine) may be helpful in cases related to recreational or therapeutic drug use.

Evaluate for myocardial ischemia or infarction with serum cardiac troponin I or T levels or other cardiac markers if symptoms or clinical signs of ischemia are present. Persistently elevated cardiac enzyme levels may also be an indication of ongoing myocarditis.

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