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.
Factors that may increase your chance of tachycardia include:
Tachycardia may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Medications to treat tachycardia include:
Ablation is done during an electrophysiology study. Radiofrequency energy or cold energy is used to destroy the abnormality and possibly cure the problem.
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.
An ICD can be surgically placed into your body. This device monitors your heartbeat. It can apply a shock to correct an irregular heartbeat.
To help reduce your chance of tachycardia:
Heart Rhythm Society
Society of Thoracic Surgeons
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Arrhythmias. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/Arrhythmia_UCM_002013_SubHomePage.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.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.