Krisha McCoy, MS
Tachycardia is a rapid heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute. Sinus tachycardia, from the heart's sinus node, is a normal response to exercise, illness, or stress.
There are several types of abnormal tachycardias or
arrhythmias. These can come from two places:
This condition can be life-threatening, but it can be treated. If you think you or someone you know has this condition, call for emergency medical services right away.
This condition is caused by abnormal electrical impulses that control the heart.
Factors that may increase your chance of tachycardia include:
Tachycardia may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Medications to treat tachycardia include:
is done during an electrophysiology study. Radiofrequency energy or cold energy is used to destroy the abnormality and possibly cure the problem.
An electric shock is applied to the heart to stop the abnormal rhythm. This treatment may be done for life-threatening rhythms, such as
ventricular fibrillation. It is also done for milder arrhythmias, such as
can be surgically placed into your body. This device monitors your heartbeat. It can apply a shock to correct an irregular heartbeat.
To help reduce your chance of tachycardia:
Heart Rhythm Society
Society of Thoracic Surgeons
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Arrhythmias. American Heart Association website. Available at:
Accessed December 30, 2014.
Cardioversion of atrial fibrillation. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116136/Cardioversion-of-atrial-fibrillation. Updated July 21, 2015. Accessed September 27, 2016.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116558/Implantable-cardioverter-defibrillator-ICD. Updated September 19, 2016. Accessed September 27, 2016.
Risk factors and prevention. Heart Rhythm Society website. Available at:
Accessed December 30, 2014.
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113613/Supraventricular-tachycardia-SVT. Updated December 21, 2015. Accessed September 27, 2016.
Ventricular tachycardia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115268/Ventricular-tachycardia. Updated January 26, 2016. Accessed September 27, 2016.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
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