General Illness Information
Medical Term: Ventricular tachycardia
Common Name: VT, v-tach
Description: Ventricular tachycardia is rapid heartbeat, which begins in the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). Ventricular tachycardia is defined by a pulse rate of more than 100 beats per minute and at least three irregular heartbeats in a row.
This condition can develop as an early or late complication of a heart attack. Ventricular tachycardia can also occur in people with:
- Heart failure;
- After heart surgery;
- Defects of the valvular heart.
In some cases, ventricular tachycardia occurs without heart disease.
Ventricular tachycardia can also be caused for the following reasons:
- Antiarrhythmic drugs (used to treat abnormal heart rhythms);
- Changes in blood chemistry (such as low potassium levels);
- Change in blood pH (acid-base balance);
- Lack of sufficient oxygen.
Signs & Symptoms:
Symptoms can occur if the heart rate is very fast or if the episode lasts longer than a few seconds. Symptoms may include:
- Discomfort in the chest;
- Angina pectoris;
- Fainting (syncope);
- Inconsistent breath.
Symptoms can start and stop suddenly. In some cases, a person does not experience any symptoms.
- Daily monitoring;
- Intrauterine electrophysiology;
- Biochemistry of blood and other tests.
Treatment depends on the symptoms, as well as on the type of heart disorder.
A person with ventricular tachycardia may need:
- Medicines (such as lidocaine, procainamide, sotalol or amiodarone).
Drug therapy often lasts for a long time. However, many drugs can have serious side effects. Today they are used less often, as other methods of treatment are developed and improved:
- Implantable defibrillator. This device detects rapid heartbeat, after which it quickly sends an electrical impulse to the heart to change the rhythm. This is called defibrillation;
- Implantable heart defibrillator.
- Prevention of diseases that cause ventricular tachycardia;
- Refusing alcohol and smoking;
- Exclusion of intense psycho-emotional stress (stress, conflict situations at work and at home);
- Regular moderate exercise (walks, morning exercises);
- Rational and balanced nutrition (limited consumption of fried, salted, smoked food, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables);
- Control of body weight;
- Controlling the level of sugar and cholesterol (fat-like substance, building material of cells) in the blood.
- Ventricular fibrillation (frequent erratic, irregular excitation and contraction of individual muscle fibers);
- Heart failure – develops with a long course of the disease;
- Sudden cardiac death.
The outcome depends on the condition of the heart and the symptoms.