Ventricular Tachycardia

1 What is Ventricular Tachycardia?

Ventricular tachycardia is a type of arrhythmia in which lower chambers of heart beat quickly.

In this disorder, heart is not able to pump enough blood because they don’t get enough time to be filled properly. It may be brief or may last longer causing symptoms like dizziness or lightheadedness.

It occurs in people with other heart conditions. It may lead to ventricular fibrillation or sudden cardiac arrest.

2 Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of ventricular tachycardia include:

  • palpitations,
  • headache,
  • light-headedness,
  • pulse deficit,
  • high blood pressure.

3 Causes

The exact cause of ventricular tachycardia is unknown but it occurs in people with:

4 Making a Diagnosis

To diagnose a condition like ventricular tachycardia, reviewing signs and symptoms, assessing family history and conducting a physical examination will help.

Additionally, some tests may be done:

  • Electrophysiology test - the doctor inserts a catheter with electrodes at the tips through blood vessels to several parts of the heart and it maps the electrical impulses precisely.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) - the electrical activity is mapped on a paper. Echocardiogram- sound waves are passed through the heart to get detailed picture.
  • Coronary angiogram - a catheter is put through blood vessels of groin and pushed to the coronary arteries, a dye is injected and an X-ray is taken.
  • Blood tests - checking thyroid hormones or potassium levels may help to detect the cause.
  • Stress test - taking ECG while doing some exercise or taking a drug that stimulates the heart activity.
  • Holter monitor - it is a portable ECG device to record heart’s electrical activity during daily routine.
  • Event monitor - it is also a portable ECG device that can be activated when the patient feels the symptoms of arrhythmias.

5 Treatment

The goal of treatment for ventricular tachycardia is to restore normal heart rhythm, regulate heart rate and prevent blood clots.

The following treatment options are available:

  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) - a small device that sends electrical signals to heart when heart rate reaches dangerous levels and regulates the heart rate.
  • Cardiac ablation - in cardiac ablation, doctors insert a thin flexible tubes through blood vessels in the neck, arm or groin and thread them through blood vessels.. Then, heat is applied through these catheters to destroy abnormal heart tissue.

6 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with ventricular tachycardia.

Risk factors include:

  • underlying heart conditions,
  • cardiomyopathies,
  • coronary heart diseases.

Complications include:

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