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Tachycardia - What it is

​Tachycardia conditions and treatments

​Tachycardia is a heart rhythm disorder, whereby the heart beats very fast at over 100 beats a minute. It can be a normal physiological response or a form of arrhythmias which occurs when there is a short-circuit or automatic focus of electrical impulses controlling the heartbeat.

Tachycardia - Symptoms

​Symptoms include

  • Fluttering in the chest
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Chest discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness
  • Fainting sensation

Tachycardia - How to prevent?

When to seek emergency medical care

Seek immediate medical help if heart palpitations are accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual sweating
  • Loss of consciousness

It’s also important to consult a doctor without delay if you have pre-existing heart conditions or a family history of sudden death.

Tachycardia - Causes and Risk Factors

Tachycardia can be triggered by:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Excessive caffeine or alcohol
  • Nicotine
  • Stimulant medications (weight loss pills, cough and cold medicine)
  • Fever

It is of great concern when the condition is caused by cardiac arrhythmias, which is a short-circuit in the electrical impulses controlling your heartbeat, resulting in the heart to beat too rapidly.

Other forms of tachycardia are:

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)

This is a prevalent arrhythmia in young adults. This is experienced as a sudden burst of rapid heartbeats that begin and end abruptly, lasting for seconds or hours. SVT is usually not life-threatening.

Ventricular tachycardia (VT)

Ventricular tachycardia is a very rapid, but regular heartbeat of 100 beats or more a minute occurring in the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart.

Sustained heart palpitations lasting more than 30 seconds are considered a medical emergency. They could indicate pre-existing heart diseases such as coronary artery disease or heart valve disorders.

Tachycardia - Diagnosis

The doctor will perform an initial evaluation and order some diagnostic tests to evaluate the condition of the patient.

Examples for initial diagnostic tests are:

Tachycardia - Treatments

Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, stimulants and quitting smoking can help.

Doctors would normally prescribe oral medications such as beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers to slow down heart rates

For supraventricular tachycardia, catheter ablation – a non-surgical procedure using radiofrequency energy – is a possible cure.

The doctor may also recommend having an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implanted in your chest, which is a small device that can help to monitor the heartbeat and restore it to a normal heart rhythm.

If the condition is caused by other underlying such as a heart valve disorder, patient will require treatment of that pre-existing condition and may require surgery.

Tachycardia - Preparing for surgery

Tachycardia - Post-surgery care

Tachycardia - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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