Madeline Vann, MPH
Ventricular tachycardia is an abnormally fast heart rate. The abnormal heart rate originates in one of the heart's lower chambers (ventricles). It is diagnosed when there are 3 or more beats in succession originating from a ventricle. The heart beats at a rate greater than 100 beats per minute, but less than 200 beats per minute.
Ventricular tachycardia is considered sustained if it lasts more than 30 seconds. When this condition is sustained, the ventricles are not able to fill with enough blood for the heart to keep blood flowing properly through the body. This can result in lowered blood pressure,
heart failure, and death.
Damage to the ventricles can cause ventricular tachycardia. This damage to the heart muscle may be due to conditions like a
Factors that may increase your chance of ventricular tachycardia include:
Ventricular tachycardia may cause:
This condition can be challenging to diagnose. Ventricular tachycardia often happens in emergency situations. It must be identified and treated very quickly.
To make the diagnosis, the doctor will order tests, such as:
In an emergency situation,
or a defibrillator may be required.
Other treatment options may include:
If other approaches fail, an
will be inserted into the heart to deliver shocks as needed to keep the heart rate steady.
To help reduce your chance of ventricular tachycardia:
American Heart Association
Heart Rhythm Society
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Ventricular tachycardia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115268/Ventricular-tachycardia. Updated January 26, 2016. Accessed September 28, 2016.
Ventricular tachycardia (VT). The Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at:
http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular_disorders/arrhythmias_and_conduction_disorders/ventricular_tachycardia_vt.html. Updated September 2013. Accessed December 30, 2014.
Ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. New York-Presbyterian Hospital website. Available at:
http://nyp.org/health/ventricular-tachycardia-fibrillation.html. Accessed December 30, 2014.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
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