What Is Tachycardia?

When at rest, the average heart beats of an adult is between 60 to 100 times in a minute. When a person has a resting heart rate that is fast, over 100 beats per minutes, they are often said to have tachycardia. Usually, this is closely related with age. This condition can be relatively dangerous, as it requires the heart to do more work. When both the upper and lower chamber have to beat faster, this condition becomes more dangerous.

Causes of Tachycardia

There are several causes of tachycardia,including many that a person cannot control. The causes include:

  • Reactions to medications being taken
  • Congenital abnormalities, meaning the person was born with whatever that is making their heart beat too fast
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Lung diseases
  • Smoking
  • Having not the right balance of electrolytes in the system
  • Hypertension
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Using illegal drugs, like cocaine
  • Heart disease

Types of Tachycardia

There are several types of tachycardia, which are usually indicates of where the problem is within the heart. The types of tachycardia are:

Type of Tachycardia


Atrial Fibrillation

This is when the two upper chambers of the heart are beating faster and not in rhythm with the bottom chambers. Most of the time, this is caused by caustic electrical impulses inside the atria.

Atrial Flutter

This is when the atria beats fast but does beat regularly. Those who have this kind of tachycardia are usually having with weak atria which are caused by a circuit problem within the atria.

Supraventicular Tachycardias (SVTs)

This originates above the ventricular tissue, and is often present since birth in most people as it is congenital. In fact, many people can go their whole lives with this kind of tachycardia without too much notice. This happens because the electrical pathways exit not being as they should be.

Ventricular Tachycardia

This is when the heart is speeding up to the point that the blood cannot getting through the body properly. This is a medical emergency that often requires surgery or medical care immediately. Those who have this often have some types of heart issues that have weakened the heart.

Ventricular Fibrillation

In this type of tachycardia, the ventricles are not working properly because they quiver ineffectively. This means that blood is not getting through the body as it should be and this often results in death. Those who have been struck by lightning or electrical current may experience this type of tachycardia.

What Are the Symptoms of Tachycardia?

When a person feels any type of symptoms of an issue with their heart, it is important to get medical attention, as the heart is one of the main organs in the body that is necessary for life. The symptoms of tachycardia include:

  • Fast pulse
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Having confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling palpitations which often makes a person feel as though their chest just is not right
  • Pain in the chest
  • Passing out
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure

When any of these signs are present, you need to see a doctor and he may order you take more tests to figure out the underlying problem.

Treatments for Tachycardia

When dealing with tachycardia, the main goal is to treat the rapid heartbeat, to keep it from coming back and basically prevent any complications from occurring. So there are several options that a person has.

Treatment for Stopping a Fast Heart Rate

  • Cardioversion. This works as a shock to the heart, which means to shock the heart back into normal rhythm. This is often performed as a last chance in order to get the heart back to the right rhythm.
  • Medications. There are several medications on the market that can help get the heart into the right rhythm, such as anti-arrhythmic drug like flecainide or propafenon. After the heart does settle down to the right rhythm, many people will find that they have to take this medication continuously to prevent it from happening again. These medications can be injected to make them work faster, but you should be administered it at a hospital.
  • Vagal Maneuvers. This is where a person tries to naturally get their heart to go back to the right pace. This includes placing ice pack on your face, coughing and bearing down like the person is having a bowel movement.

Treatment for Preventing Episodes of Fast Heart Rate

  • Catheter Ablation. When the heart rate is due to electric impulse issues, the doctor may place catheters in the body in order to help stop these impulses in their tracks. The catheters are often placed into the arm, groin or neck, and then the doctor will guide them to your heart through blood vessels.
  • Surgery. There are several surgical options that a person will have when wanting to correct this problem. Those who have a fast heart beat are often fitted with a pacemaker to make sure that their heart is functioning properly. Other people are given a defibrillator in the chest that is meant to help ensure that the heart does not stop, and the defibrillator will automatically help the person if needed. In some cases, when the heart issue is due to scars or electric issues, open heart surgery may be the only option.

It is important to note that those who have tachycardia are often given blood thinners to prevent the people with tachycardia from developing a blood clot.


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