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What is Ventricular Tachyarrhythmia?

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  • Written By: Jami Yontz
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2018
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Ventricular tachyarrhythmia is a heartbeat in the lower chambers of the heart that is above 100 beats per minute. The normal heart beat rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute, and anything over 100 beats per minute can be dangerous or signal that an abnormality of the heart has developed. Ventricular tachyarrhythmia, also known as ventricular tachycardia, creates a condition where the heart cannot pump blood and oxygen throughout the body as efficiently, which can cause low blood pressure, blood clots, or death if a medical professional does not treat the condition immediately.

The two types of ventricular tachyarrhythmia are monomorphic and polymorphic. Monomorphic tachyarrhythmia shows up on monitor as a consistently high heart rhythm, and the condition can degrade to polymorphic if a regular heart rate is not established. The polymorphic type creates a high heartbeat rhythm that is irregular and unpredictable, and this type of rhythm can lead to ventricular fibrillation, a condition where electrical impulses in the body cause the ventricles to contract without pumping blood to the body.

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Ventricular tachyarrhythmia is usually caused by previous damage to the heart, or other medical conditions. Heart disease, high blood pressure, or hyperthyroidism can cause the normal electrical impulses that control the heart rate to become inconsistent. Drug use, alcohol abuse, smoking, and an electrolyte imbalance can also put strain on the heart and cause a high heart rate. Some people are born with congenital defects of the structure of the heart or the electrical pathways, which can cause ventricular tachycardia.

A fast heartbeat can cause numerous symptoms because the body is not receiving the normal amount of blood and oxygen. Fainting, shortness of breath, and chest pain is usually experienced during ventricular tachyarrhythmia. Palpitations and lightheadedness are also symptoms of the condition. Tachyarrhytmia can happen intermittently, or it can be a prolonged issue that degrades into more severe heart problems if not treated. Some people experience no symptoms with this condition.

If a person is experiencing palpitations or an irregular heartbeat, he or she should consult a physician. The doctor may perform various tests, including a tilt table test and an electrophysiological test. A physician may have the person wear a portable electrocardiogram (ECG) device that will record the person’s normal heart rate and the arrhythmias the person is experiencing. Depending on the results of the tests, the person may be prescribed medication, or a cardioveter-defibrillator will be implanted to prevent fast heart rate. During an emergency situation, the patient will be shocked with a defibrillator to restore the person's normal heart rhythm.

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