Ventricular Tachycardia & Its Treatment
Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is a rapid heart rate that originates in the ventricles of the heart. This can be a life-threatening condition, so it is important to know the signs and symptoms and understand the available treatment options.
What is Ventricular Tachycardia?
Ventricular tachycardia is a heart-rhythm disorder in which the ventricles beat quickly and irregularly. The heart rate is usually greater than 100 beats per minute and can reach up to 200 beats per minute. While a normal heart rate ranges from 60-100 beats per minute, ventricular tachycardia can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, lightheadedness, and fatigue.
Causes of Ventricular Tachycardia
The cause of ventricular tachycardia can vary, but it is often due to underlying heart disease. In some cases, it can be caused by abnormal heart valves or abnormal heart muscle. Other causes include genetic conditions, certain medications, alcohol and drug use, and electrolyte imbalances.
Treatment of Ventricular Tachycardia
Treatment options for ventricular tachycardia depend on the cause and the severity of the condition. Medications, such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers, can be used to control heart rate and rhythm. An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) may be used to shock the heart back into normal rhythm if medications are not effective. Ablation, a procedure that uses heat or cold to destroy abnormal heart tissue, may also be helpful in some cases. Other treatments may include pacemakers and lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress and avoiding alcohol and drugs.
The Effect of Ventricular Tachycardia on Health
Ventricular tachycardia can have a serious effect on health. If left untreated, it can lead to ventricular fibrillation, a life-threatening condition in which the ventricles quiver instead of beating normally, leading to a sudden loss of consciousness and death. Ventricular tachycardia can also increase the risk of stroke and heart failure.
Ventricular tachycardia is a serious heart-rhythm disorder that can have life-threatening implications. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms and to seek prompt medical attention. Treatment options vary, but often include medications, an ICD, ablation, and lifestyle changes. Proactive treatment is important to reduce the risk of complications and improve overall health.