Tachycardia is an abnormally fast heartbeat, causing the heart to beat more than 100 times per minute at rest. There are three types of tachycardia: sinus, supraventricular, and ventricular. Changes from the normal sequence of the heart’s electrical impulses cause all three types of this heart rhythm problem.
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A normal heart rate in adults is usually between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Tachycardia is a fast or racing heartbeat where the heart beats over 100 times a minute at rest.
When the heart’s electrical signals happen too fast, it can cause one of three types of tachycardia:
Although some types of tachycardia are mild, ventricular tachycardia can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (Psvt)
Ventricular tachycardia (V-Tach)
The UPMC Cardiac Electrophysiology Program is the largest in western Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the United States.
Our care team has experience diagnosing and treating tachycardia, as well as other heart rhythm disorders.
If you have tachycardia, your heart can beat very fast — over 100 times a minute at rest.
Tachycardia symptoms may include:
During your physical exam, your doctor at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute's Cardiac Electrophysiology Program will:
To confirm a diagnosis of tachycardia, your doctor may order additional tests and procedures such as:
Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to expect your test results and will call you when they're available.
Rapid heart rates can originate from either the atria or the ventricles of the heart. The treatment for your tachycardia may vary between medication or surgery depending on the severity of your condition. Rhythms from the ventricle are more often considered life-threatening.
At the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute's Cardiac Electrophysiology Program, the goals of tachycardia treatment are to:
Your doctor may prescribe medications and order certain procedures to meet these treatment goals.
Medicines used to slow the heart rate:
Medicines used to maintain a regular heart rhythm:
Medicines used to prevent clot formation and help reduce the risk of stroke:
SBRT is an experimental procedure for refractory ventricular tachycardia (V-tach), an arrhythmia that comes from the heart's lower chambers.
Doctors use SBRT if common treatments -- like drugs and catheter ablation — fail to control your v-tach.
SBRT involves the delivery of focused, intense doses of radiation to a small area of the heart.
Doctors use imaging scans to:
SBRT can treat a larger area of the heart than catheter ablation.
The procedure is noninvasive. In most cases, it lasts under an hour and you can go home the same day.
You will have frequent, extensive follow-up visits to check on SBRT's long-term effects.
Currently, SBRT is only for people with refractory V-tach who have tried other treatments without success.
Early data suggest SBRT can be more successful than other treatments in reducing arrhythmia in people with v-tach. But because SBRT is an experimental treatment, more long-term data is needed to determine its effectiveness.
Many people find these resources helpful in answering their questions about tachycardia and preparing them for their procedure or diagnostic test.
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