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, get emergency help.
Electrical System and Chambers of the Heart
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This condition is caused by abnormal electrical impulses that control the heart.
These factors increase your chance of having tachycardia. Tell your doctor if you have any of the following:
If you have any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to this condition. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
The following medications are used to treat this condition:
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.
Reducing risk of heart disease is the best way you can prevent this condition. Take the following steps:
American Heart Association
Heart Rhythm Society
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Arrhythmia prevention. Heart Rhythm Society website. Available at: http://www.hrspati... . Accessed April 19, 2007.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/270.xml. Accessed . Accessed April 19, 2007.
Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia (PAT). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed101.epnet.com/Detail.aspx?id=113613. Accessed . Accessed April 19, 2007.
Ventricular tachycardia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed102.epnet.com/Detail.aspx?id=115268. Accessed . Accessed April 19, 2007.
What are arrhythmias? American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.america... . Accessed April 19, 2007.
Last reviewed December 2013 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Last Updated: 1/14/2014