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Tachycardia

(Ventricular Tachycardia; Supraventricular Tachycardia; Paroxysmal Atrial Tachycardia)

Definition

Tachycardia is a rapid heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute. Sinus tachycardia, from the heart's sinus node, is a normal response to exercise, illness, or stress.
There are several types of abnormal tachycardias or arrhythmias. These can come from two places:
This condition can be life-threatening, but it can be treated. If you think you or someone you know has this condition, call for emergency medical services right away.
Electrical System and Chambers of the Heart
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Causes

This condition is caused by abnormal electrical impulses that control the heart.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of tachycardia include:

Symptoms

Tachycardia may cause:

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

Medications

Medications to treat tachycardia include:
  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Anti-arrhythmics

Ablation

Ablation is done during an electrophysiology study. Radiofrequency energy or cold energy is used to destroy the abnormality and possibly cure the problem.

Cardioversion

An electric shock is applied to the heart to stop the abnormal rhythm. This treatment may be done for life-threatening rhythms, such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. It is also done for milder arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation.

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)

An ICD can be surgically placed into your body. This device monitors your heartbeat. It can apply a shock to correct an irregular heartbeat.
Device to Correct Tachycardia
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Prevention

To help reduce your chance of tachycardia:

RESOURCES

Heart Rhythm Society http://www.hrsonline.org

Society of Thoracic Surgeons http://www.sts.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References

Arrhythmias. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/Arrhythmia%5FUCM%5F002013%5FSubHomePage.jsp. Accessed December 30, 2014.

Cardioversion of atrial fibrillation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 12, 2014. Accessed December 30, 2014.

Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 19, 2014. Accessed December 30, 2014.

Risk factors and prevention. Heart Rhythm Society website. Available at: http://www.hrsonline.org/Patient-Resources/Risk-Factors-Prevention#axzz3NOr35s6f. Accessed December 30, 2014.

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 5, 2014. Accessed December 30, 2014.

Ventricular tachycardia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 8, 2013. Accessed December 30, 2014.

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