Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms

Ventricular Tachycardia Overview

What is ventricular tachycardia?
Tachycardia is a medical term that is used to describe a faster than normal heart rate. Ventricular tachycardia is a rapid heartbeat that begins in the ventricles and generates a pulse over 100 beats per minute. Ventricular tachycardia can develop as an early or late complication of a heart attack. Anyone with congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, or valvular heart disease is at an increased risk for developing ventricular tachycardia. Other causes include a disturbance in blood chemistry, such as acid-base balance or blood electrolyte levels.

What are the symptoms of ventricular tachycardia?
Symptoms of ventricular tachycardia may start and stop suddenly and in some cases, there may be no symptoms. If the episode of ventricular tachycardia is very fast or lasts longer than a few seconds symptoms may chest pain, fainting, faintness, dizziness, palpitations, or shortness of breath.

How does the doctor treat ventricular tachycardia?
The treatment of ventricular tachycardia may include medications, cardioversion, and an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to shock the heart if ventricular tachycardia becomes a recurrent problem.

Continue to Ventricular Tachycardia Symptoms

Last Updated: Sep 10, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Ventricular Tachycardia References
  1. Rubart M, Zipes DP. Mechanisms of sudden cardiac death. J Clin Invest. 2005 Sep;115(9):2305-15. [16138184]
  2. Schaer B, Kuhne M, Koller MT, Sticherling C, Osswald S. Therapy with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) in patients with coronary artery disease and dilated cardiomyopathy: benefits and disadvantages. Swiss Med Wkly. 2009 Nov 14;139(45-46):647-53. [19950031]
  3. Stevenson WG. Ventricular scars and ventricular tachycardia. Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc. 2009;120:403-12. [19768192]
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