Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias

Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias: What You Need to Know

Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias (VT) are abnormal heart rhythms that cause your heart to beat too quickly (more than 100 times per minute). These rapid heartbeats disrupt your heart's normal pumping action, reducing blood flow to your brain and other organs. VT can result in cardiopulmonary arrest, stroke, and even death. Therefore, it is important to understand what causes VT and how it can be treated.

Causes of Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias

Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias are often the result of an underlying heart condition that affects the electrical system of the heart. This includes conditions such as Coronary Artery Disease, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Long QT Syndrome, and other heart rhythm abnormalities. VT can also be caused by an electrolyte imbalance, certain medications, drug abuse, or a problem with the heart valves.

Signs and Symptoms of Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias

Symptoms of ventricular tachyarrhythmias can vary from person to person, but they can include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Palpitations
  • Rapid heart rate

Diagnosis of Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias

Your doctor will perform a physical exam and order one or more tests to diagnose VT, such as:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): This test records the electrical activity of your heart and can detect abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Echocardiogram: This test uses sound waves to create a picture of your heart and detect any heart problems that may be causing VT.
  • Exercise Stress Test: This test evaluates how your heart responds to exercise-induced stress.
  • Holter Monitor: This test records your heart rate and rhythm for 24-48 hours.
  • Cardiac Catheterization: This test uses x-rays and a dye to evaluate the structure of your heart.

Treatment of Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias

Treatment of VT depends on the underlying cause. Options may include lifestyle changes, medications, implantable device therapy, or surgery. Your doctor will determine the best course of treatment for your condition.

Prevention of Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias

Making lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk for VT. These may include quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure, increasing physical activity, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol. Some medications are also available to help reduce your risk of VT.