EMT Exam Practice Questions about Cardiology and Resuscitation

By Arthur Hsieh

The following practice questions are similar to the EMT exam’s questions about cardiology and resuscitation. Read each question carefully, and then select the answer choice that most correctly answers the question.

Sample questions

  1. A 68-year-old male has chest pressure and shortness of breath after climbing a flight of stairs. His neighbor is worried and calls 911. The patient is alert and insists that this is an angina episode that will go away on its own. Which of the following questions would be of most benefit in verifying his assertion?

    • (A)Are you nauseous?

    • (B)Does this pain come on each time you climb these stairs?

    • (C)Are you prescribed nitroglycerin?

    • (D)Does the pain radiate to your arm or jaw?

  2. A man stands up to clear the dishes after dinner. He feels a sharp, tearing sensation in the epigastric region of his abdomen, toward his back. He immediately collapses to the floor. His blood pressure is 100/84 mm Hg, his pulse rate is 108, and he is breathing 24 times per minute. His skin is pale, cool, and diaphoretic. Pedal pulses are absent. You should

    • (A)immobilize him to a long backboard.

    • (B)assist him to a sitting position.

    • (C)move him carefully to a gurney.

    • (D)administer the patient’s prescribed nitroglycerin.

  3. A 72-year-old female presents with “aching” discomfort in her epigastric region that began abruptly 45 minutes ago. She reports a history of hypertension, ulcers, angina, and atherosclerosis. Her pain is a 7 on a 1–10 scale. She self-administered three of her prescribed nitroglycerin tablets, without effect. Her blood pressure is 136/90 mm Hg. You should first

    • (A)administer supplemental oxygen.

    • (B)administer another dose of the patient’s nitroglycerin.

    • (C)perform a full secondary assessment.

    • (D)determine what other medications are prescribed.

  4. A 49-year-old male presents supine in bed, alert, and complaining of lightheadedness, difficulty breathing, and heavy chest pressure that radiates to his arms. His heart rate is 42, his blood pressure is 92/62 mm Hg, and he has a breathing rate of 18 times per minute. You auscultate crackles in both lung fields. You should

    • (A)leave the patient supine and administer supplemental oxygen.

    • (B)administer the patient’s prescribed nitroglycerin.

    • (C)sit the patient upright to assist his breathing.

    • (D)assist the patient’s ventilation with a bag-valve mask and oxygen.

  5. A 65-year-old female is supine in bed with difficulty breathing and substernal chest pressure. She is alert and breathing 26 times per minute, with crackles auscultated bilaterally. Accessory muscle use is evident. Her blood pressure is 220/104 mm Hg, her heart rate is 90 and irregular, and she has cool, diaphoretic skin. You should

    • (A)assist with her breathing using a bag-valve mask and oxygen.

    • (B)sit her upright and administer high-flow oxygen.

    • (C)assist the patient with her prescribed hypertension medication.

    • (D)keep her supine and administer low-flow oxygen.

  6. An 80-year-old male had a syncopal episode while standing during church service. Bystanders assisted him to the ground, where he presents awake, confused, and short of breath. He is pale, warm, and diaphoretic; his blood pressure is 100/70 mm Hg, and his pulse rate is 96. He is breathing 18 times per minute; his lung sounds are clear. Which of the following series of actions would be most appropriate?

    • (A)Sit the patient upright and assist him to a gurney, administer oxygen, and perform a full physical examination.

    • (B)Move the patient to a cooler spot within the church; loosen his clothing and fan him to promote cooling.

    • (C)Keep the patient supine and transfer him to the gurney, administer oxygen, and move toward the ambulance.

    • (D)Obtain a complete physical exam and past medical history, administer oxygen, and sit him upright.

  7. A 34-year-old male presents with difficulty breathing and feeling faint. He came home from a restaurant about an hour ago, felt nauseated, and vomited several times. His pulse rate is 126, his blood pressure is 88/50 mm Hg, and he is breathing 24 times per minute. You auscultate wheezing in both lung fields. His skin is pale, cool, and moist. You should assist with the patient’s prescribed

    • (A)epinephrine autoinjector.

    • (B)multidose inhaler (MDI).

    • (C)nitroglycerin.

    • (D)insulin injection.

  8. You and your partner arrive at a public pool where lifeguards are performing CPR on a 7-year-old female who was underwater for 10 to 15 minutes. One lifeguard is performing adequate chest compressions, pausing every 30 compressions for the other lifeguard to ventilate the patient with a pocket mask. You should

    • (A)direct the lifeguards to continue CPR at a ratio of 15 compressions to two breaths.

    • (B)take over CPR and direct the lifeguards to apply the AED pads.

    • (C)direct the lifeguards to stop CPR and apply the AED pads.

    • (D)have your partner take over compressions while you apply the AED pads.

Answers and explanations

  1. B. A hallmark of angina is that it’s predictable, meaning the patient can tell when the pain will come on.

  2. C. This scenario has the telltale signs of an aortic dissection or rupture. He needs to be rapidly transported to a hospital.

  3. A. First, you should apply supplemental oxygen, before moving forward, to ensure that any possible hypoxia is managed.

  4. A. The patient is experiencing difficulty breathing and has poor lung sounds, making oxygen necessary.

  5. B. This patient is experiencing pulmonary edema secondary to congestive heart failure (CHF). Sitting her up will assist her ability to breathe.

  6. C. The patient’s blood pressure is too low to have him sit up as Choices (A) and (D) suggest. Although the syncopal episode may be simply heat related, which requires cooling, Choice (B), no clear information is provided in the scenario.

  7. A. The scenario suggests that the patient is experiencing anaphylaxis after eating at a restaurant.

  8. A. Pediatric cardiac arrests are thought to be respiratory driven, rather than cardiac driven as in adults.