Tachycardia is a medical term that refers to a faster heartbeat than normal, usually more than 100 beats per minute.
Sometimes, a faster heartbeat is a normal response due to physical activity, anxiety or stress. But few times, it is an indication of a heart-related problem.
Based on the cause or part of the heart responsible for the faster heartbeat, it classified into types of tachycardia which includes:
Atrial fibrillation: Irregular or faster heartbeat is caused by chaotic, irregular electrical impulses in the upper chambers of the heart (Atria) resulting in weak or rapid contractions of atria.
Atrial flutter: In atrial flutter, the upper chambers of the heartbeats very rapidly but at a regular rate resulting in weak contractions of atria.
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT): Abnormal or rapid heartbeat in the lower chambers of the heart (Ventricle). It is usually caused by abnormal circulation in the heart, present at birth and creates a loop of overlapping signals.
Ventricular tachycardia: Abnormal electrical signals in the lower chambers of the heart (Ventricles).
Ventricular fibrillation: Ventricular fibrillation occurs when there is a rapid, chaotic electrical impulse in the lower chambers of the heart (Ventricles). This may occur during or after a heart attack.
What are the symptoms of tachycardia?
Irregular or rapid heartbeat
Shortness of breath
Chest discomfort or pain
What are the causes of tachycardia?
High blood pressure
Certain stimulants like methamphetamine, cocaine
What are the complications of tachycardia?
How is tachycardia diagnosed?
Electrocardiogram: This is a noninvasive test, to check the electrical activity of the heart which determines rate and rhythm.
Echocardiogram: Utilizes ultrasound images to check chambers, valves of the heart
Holter monitoring: The patient is advised to wear a portable device to record continuous ECG for about 24 to 72 hours.
Event monitoring: If a patient presents a normal heartbeat during Holter monitoring or palpitation present weekly once, the doctor might recommend an event monitor. A small device intended to monitor heartbeat over a week to a month.
How is tachycardia treated?
Beta-blockers to control the heart’s rate and rhythm
Cardioversion: This involves applying an electrical current to the heart to correct rhythm and rate
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator: This helps in controlling rate and rhythm by using electrical current
Ablation or radiofrequency ablation or cryoablation: Destroy the part of the heart that is sending abnormal or rapid electrical signals