Tachycardia is a heart rhythm disorder, whereby the heart beats very fast at over 100 beats a minute. It can be a normal physiological response or a form of
arrhythmias which occurs when there is a short-circuit or automatic focus of electrical impulses controlling the heartbeat.
When to seek emergency medical care
Seek immediate medical help if heart palpitations are accompanied by the following symptoms:
It’s also important to consult a doctor without delay if you have pre-existing heart conditions or a family history of sudden death.
Tachycardia can be triggered by:
It is of great concern when the condition is caused by cardiac
arrhythmias, which is a short-circuit in the electrical impulses controlling your heartbeat, resulting in the heart to beat too rapidly.
Other forms of tachycardia are:
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
This is a prevalent
arrhythmia in young adults. This is experienced as a sudden burst of rapid heartbeats that begin and end abruptly, lasting for seconds or hours. SVT is usually not life-threatening.
Ventricular tachycardia (VT)
Ventricular tachycardia is a very rapid, but regular heartbeat of 100 beats or more a minute occurring in the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart.
Sustained heart palpitations lasting more than 30 seconds are considered a medical emergency. They could indicate pre-existing heart diseases such as coronary artery disease or heart valve disorders.
The doctor will perform an initial evaluation and order some diagnostic tests to evaluate the condition of the patient.
Examples for initial diagnostic tests are:
Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, stimulants and quitting smoking can help.
Doctors would normally prescribe oral medications such as beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers to slow down heart rates
For supraventricular tachycardia, catheter ablation – a non-surgical procedure using radiofrequency energy – is a possible cure.
The doctor may also recommend having an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implanted in your chest, which is a small device that can help to monitor the heartbeat and restore it to a normal heart rhythm.
If the condition is caused by other underlying such as a heart valve disorder, patient will require treatment of that pre-existing condition and may require surgery.