Tachycardia is a rapid heart rate. It has a rate of more than 100 beats per minute.
It is normal for your heart rate to increase in response to exercise or stress. However, there are several types of abnormal tachycardias. This type is known as arrhythmias. This arrhythmia can start in two different areas of the heart:
This condition can be life threatening. It can be treated. If you think you or someone you know has this condition, call for emergency medical services right away.
Electrical impulses control the action of the heart. These impulses start from a node in the heart or other areas of the heart tissue. Tachycardia is caused by abnormal impulses.
Factors that may increase your chances of tachycardia:
Tachycardia may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and health 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:
Medicine to treat tachycardia include:
Ablation is the destruction of tissue. It is done to the area that is causing the abnormal rhythm. The tissue may be destroyed with radiofrequency or cold. This may stop the problem.
An electric shock is applied to the heart. It may reset the rhythm of the heart. This treatment may be done for:
An ICD is a device that constantly checks your heart activity. If you have an irregular rhythm, it will shock your heart back to a normal one. The device is placed under your skin during a surgery.
To help reduce your chances of tachycardia:
American Heart Association
Heart Rhythm Society
Canadian Heart Rhythm Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Arrhythmias. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/Arrhythmia_UCM_002013_SubHomePage.jsp. Accessed November 29, 2017.
Cardioversion of atrial fibrillation. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116136/Cardioversion-of-atrial-fibrillation. Updated February 22, 2017. Accessed September 27, 2016.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116558/Implantable-cardioverter-defibrillator-ICD. Updated October 18, 2017. Accessed September 27, 2016.
Risk factors & prevention. Heart Rhythm Society website. Available at: http://www.hrsonline.org/Patient-Resources/Risk-Factors-Prevention#axzz3NOr35s6f. Accessed November 29, 2017.
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113613/Supraventricular-tachycardia-SVT. Updated December 21, 2015. Accessed November 29, 2017.
Ventricular tachycardia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115268/Ventricular-tachycardia. Updated January 26, 2016. Accessed November 29, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC Last Updated: 7/13/2018