Electrical signals control your heartbeat. There is a pattern to these signals. The sinoatrial (SA) node is where they begin. It is commonly referred to as your heart's natural pacemaker and is located in one of your atria.
Your atria contract in response to the signal, which causes blood to flow into your ventricles. Then it descends to the atrioventricular (AV) node, another region of your heart. Your ventricles will then contract in order to transport the blood.
Why does ventricular tachycardia occur?
The electrical signals in your ventricles go off in the wrong direction when you experience ventricular tachycardia. Your SA node's pulses are further impacted.
Most people's normal heart rates fall between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The rate of ventricular tachycardia might reach 170 beats per minute or even higher.
This prevents the upper chambers of your heart from having time to fill up and transfer the blood to the ventricles. As a result, your blood does not circulate properly throughout your body.
In some cases, this condition can result in ventricular fibrillation, which is characterized by irregular heartbeats that can reach 300 beats per minute. This situation is critical and life-threatening.
Symptoms of Ventricular Tachycardia
If your heart beats rapidly for only a short period of time, you might not experience any symptoms.
VT may lead to:
- Having a headache or feeling faint
- Chest pain
- Heart flutters
- Breathing difficulty
- Your neck is tense.
- Heart stoppage (cardiac arrest)
Treatment for Ventricular Tachycardia
If you don't have symptoms or if episodes last less than 30 seconds, you might not need to take any action. In any other case, how you are treated will depend on the problem's root cause.
You may need to quit taking a prescription or coffee if that is what is triggering your VT.
Additional treatments comprise:
Cardioversion: To restore your heart's regular beat, your doctor shocks it with electricity. This is a typical emergency treatment, particularly when VT coexists with dizziness or low blood pressure.
Medications: Prescription drugs that lower your heart rate include amiodarone (Nexterone, Pacerone), flecainide (Tambocor), lidocaine (Lidopen), propafenone (Rythmol SR), and sotalol (Betapace, Sotylize). These have drawbacks and are less effective than cardioversion.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT): A little pacemaker is inserted by your doctor close to your collarbone. To get the ventricles to cooperate as they should, it sends messages to both of them.
An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD): This is a little gadget that is positioned behind your collarbone. It might be provided combined with CRT. If your heartbeat becomes irregular, an ICD shocks you to get it back to normal. It can prevent VT from becoming a potentially fatal issue.
Cardiac ablation: Ablation using radiofrequency or a catheter is another name for this. To kill atypical cardiac tissue, doctors employ heat. This procedure can both treat and cure ventricular tachycardia.