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Ventricular tachycardia

Ventricular tachycardia is a medical condition which features with abnormally accelerated heart rhythm. A healthy heart in adult people normally performs 60 to 100 beats per minute. Tachycardia refers to faster heart rate and it can start from the ventricles or atria. In some people tachycardia is asymptomatic. Still in majority of cases it does cause certain symptoms and signs and can eventually lead to numerous complications. Some complications can be even life-threatening. Luckily, the disease can be successfully treated and if found on time all the possible complications can be prevented.

Causes of Ventricular Tachycardia

The actual cause of tachycardia is abnormal electrical impulses which control the rhythm of the heart. There is a variety of medical conditions which can cause ventricular tachycardia. First of all, damage of the heart tissue can lead to ventricular tachycardia. Furthermore, tachycardia also occurs if there are congenital abnormal electrical pathways in the heart or in some other congenital diseases of the heart. High blood pressure carries huge risk for ventricular tachycardia. This also refers to heavy consumption of alcohol and coffee as well as smoking. Ventricular tachycardia can be a side effect of certain medication. Cocaine also causes ventricular tachycardia. Tachycardia is a characteristic of hyperthyroidism and it also occurs in imbalance of electrolytes. And finally, in some cases the underlying cause of tachycardia simply cannot be established.

Complications of Ventricular Tachycardia

Basically complications depend on the type of tachycardia. Also the heart rate determines the occurrence of certain complications. Patients who are already suffering from other heart conditions are more susceptible to complications.

Ventricular tachycardia can lead to formation of blood clots inside the ventricles. These blood clots can be ejected from the heart and can cause a stroke or heart attack. In ventricular tachycardia the heart cannot pump blood properly. This reflects in heart failure. Since the heart cannot pump the blood other organs suffer significantly. The brain is short of oxygen and this is why people who are suffering from ventricular tachycardia frequently lose consciousness. And finally, the most serious complication is death. This complication is caused by ventricular fibrillation which is only a consequence of unregulated ventricular tachycardia.

Treatment of Ventricular Tachycardia

The goal of the treatment is to decelerate the heart rate. This can be achieved by vagal maneuvers, some medications (antiarrhytmics) and if previously two does not lead to desirable results a cardioversion helps the patient.

Ventricular tachycardia can be prevented. This can be done by radiofrequency catheter ablation, regular taking of antiarrhytmics, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator and by some other surgery which will take care of an extra electrical pathway.

Prevention is also essential in people with hypercoagulation which can consequently lead to several complications. And finally, sometimes arrhythmia can be successfully eliminated if the disease that leads to tachycardia has been found and treated properly.

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