Ventricular tachycardia is a very fast heart rate. It beats at a rate greater than 100 beats per minute. When the heart is moving this fast it is not able to properly fill with blood. It will decrease the amount of blood the heart pushes out to the body. If the rapid heart rate continues it can lead to low blood pressure, heart failure, and death.
The signal for a heart beat normally comes from the SA node. Ventricular tachycardia happens when areas in the lower part of the heart send abnormal signals. The extra beats cause the very fast heart rate.
Factors that may increase your risk of ventricular tachycardia include:
Ventricular tachycardia may cause:
Ventricular tachycardia is often an emergency. Heart problems will be suspected based on symptoms. An ECG will show the electrical activity of the heart. It will show tachycardia.
Other tests may be done to see what may trigger tachycardia:
Emergency care can help to improve blood flow. CPR may be needed to improve blood flow until further care is given. A defibrillator may help to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm again.
Treatment to stop the tachycardia may include:
An automatic defibrillator may be needed of other treatment does not work. The device will deliver shocks to the heart when needed to keep the heart rate steady. It is implanted just under the skin.
Steps that may prevent some ventricular tachycardia include:
American Heart Association
Heart Rhythm Society
Canadian Heart Rhythm Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Ventricular tachycardia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115268/Ventricular-tachycardia. Updated September 20, 2019. Accessed September 27, 2019.
Ventricular tachycardia (VT). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular_disorders/arrhythmias_and_conduction_disorders/ventricular_tachycardia_vt. Updated September 2017. Accessed September 27, 2019.
Ventricular tachycardia (VT). New York-Presbyterian Hospital website. Available at: http://www.nyp.org/library/134%257C231?l=en. Accessed September 27, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC Last Updated: 9/27/2019