Ventricular Tachycardia

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.

Causes:

This condition can develop as an early or late complication of a heart attack. Ventricular tachycardia can also occur in people with:

  • Cardiomyopathy;
  • Heart failure;
  • After heart surgery;
  • Myocarditis;
  • 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);
  • Dizziness;
  • Inconsistent breath.

Symptoms can start and stop suddenly. In some cases, a person does not experience any symptoms.

Diagnosis:

  • Daily monitoring;
  • ECG;
  • Intrauterine electrophysiology;
  • Biochemistry of blood and other tests.

Treatment:

Treatment depends on the symptoms, as well as on the type of heart disorder.

A person with ventricular tachycardia may need:

  • Cardioversion;
  • 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:

  • Ablation;
  • 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:

  • 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.

Possible Complications:

  • 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.

Prognosis:

The outcome depends on the condition of the heart and the symptoms.

Other:

Not specified.

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