The healthy heart of an adult person beats 60 to 100 timesper minute, when the person is resting. Any beat, higher than 100 at rest isconsidered tachycardia. This condition appears when the heart creates fastelectrical signals, which are then sent through the heart, making it beats faster.
Tachycardia may be just the symptom of another heartcondition or problem with the thyroid gland. In that case, treatment for thecause is helping with the existing tachycardia.
Sometimes, there are no visible symptoms or complications of tachycardia,but untreated condition may lead to heart attack, angina or ischemic heartdisease. The therapy is working to slowthe tempo of the heart, prevent the condition and minimize eventualcomplications.
Vagal maneuvers are simple actions, something you yourself can dowhen your heart rate speeds. Try to gag, cough,immerse your head in icy water or hold your breath and bear down. Pressing youreyelids may slow your heart too.
Medication is necessarywhen vagal maneuvers don’t slow down the heart. The doctor could prescribe someanti-arrhythmic tablets, flecainide (Tambocor) or propafenone (Rythmol),or if you are already in the hospital it is more likely to have an anti-arrhythmic injection. In the ER(emergency room), when vagal maneuvers or medication are not efficient, thedoctor could perform cardioversion. An electric shock is send to your heart andthat brings the rhythm to normal.
Sometimes it could be possible to prevent future episodesof tachycardia, using medications, surgery, catheters or defibrillator. Medicationsin use for this purpose are anti-arrhythmic drugs, which may be combined with diltiazem(Cardizem), verapamil (Calan), propranolol (Inderal) and esmolol (Brevibloc). Tachycardiaepisodes might put you at risk to develop a blood clot, which could lead to andstroke and heart attack. To avoid that kind of complication, your doctor maygive you blood-thinning medications.
Some types of tachycardia are treated by catheters insertedin cardial (of the heart) blood vessels. Electrodes on the catheter produce theheat and destroy the abnormal pathways in the heart, responsible for the tachycardia.Life threatening tachycardia is often resolved by implantation of a defibrillator.The device is constantly checking your heart and when the heart starts to beatfaster than it should be it releases an electric pulse and regulates heartbeats.
Surgery might be the final option to resolve tachycardia,if all of the procedures above happens to fail. The surgeon will make scars onthe heart tissue, in order to prevent the conduction of the abnormal electricpulses.