Term which means heart rate above 100 beats per minute. Tachycardia is caused by many types of heart rhythm disorders known as arrhythmias. Fast heart beats are sometimes normal such as during exercise or response to stress, trauma or illness. However, in tachycardia heart rate is faster than normal in the absence of any physiological stress. Tachycardia have different types such as Atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation.
Some patients having tachycardia have no obvious symptoms and are diagnosed with tachycardia only on electrocardiogram. However, many patients having tachycardia have following signs and symptoms:
- Problematic breathing
- Lightheadedness and dizziness
- Rapid pulse rate
- Pain in chest
- Syncope (fainting)
- Heart palpitations
Main reason of tachycardia is disturb normal electrical impulses of the heart that controls heart’s pumping action. There are a number of things that precipitate fast heart rate. Some of them are:
- Increase consumption of caffeinated drinks
- Increase alcohol intake
- Changes in blood pressure
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Side effects of medications
- Sudden emotional stress
- Consumption of stimulant drugs, like cocaine and methamphetamine.
Complications of tachycardia include:
- Stroke or heart attack due to blood clots
- Heart failure
- Frequency of fainting increases
- Sudden death frequently associated with ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation
Diagnosis of tachycardia depends upon detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of the patient. Along with this several heart tests are also necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Such tests are:
- Holter monitor
- Cardiac event moniter
- Electrophysiological test
- Stress test
- Cardiac imaging tests such as: Echocardiogram, MRI, CT scan, cardiac angiogram, chest X-ray
- Titl table test.
Main treatment options of tachycardia include:
- Vagal maneuvers, medications like injection of an anti-arrhythmic drug and cardioversion to slow down fast going heart rate
- Catheter ablation, pacemakers, medications like anti-arrhythmic drugs, calcium channel blockers, Implantable cardioverter, open heart surgery or maze procedure to prevent future episodes of tachycardia.
- To reduce the complications like stroke or heart attack blood clots are prevented by prescribing blood thinning medications
- Treatments of underlying cause that leads to tachycardia is also necessary