Tachycardia

Also known as: ventricular tachycardia, rapid heartbeat

What is tachycardia?

Tachycardia is the medical term for a rapid heartbeat. This can impact the upper chambers of the heart, the lower chambers of the heart or both. It varies in severity and can lead to complications in many instances if left untreated.

What causes tachycardia?

The condition occurs due to an electrical problem with the heart. This can occur because of certain medical conditions or the use of some medications. Using caffeine, nicotine, alcohol or other drugs can increase the risk.

What are the symptoms of tachycardia?

Tachycardia typically produces a rapid heartbeat that can be steady or irregular depending on the type that is present. Shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, chest pain or tightness and heart palpitations are other common symptoms.

What are tachycardia care options?

Individuals can be taught physical movements called vagal maneuvers that can help to manage certain types of tachycardia. Some medications, medical procedures or surgeries can also treat the heart and reduce the chances of tachycardia occurring.


Reviewed by: Anthony F. Rossi, MD

This page was last updated on: 6/12/2018 2:18:48 PM


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The Heart Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital provides electrocardiogram (EKG) screenings to children and young adults in the community at no cost. The focus of this program is to create awareness on the importance of pediatric heart screenings in an effort to identify children at risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). The use of an electrocardiogram (EKG) is critical to help diagnose asymptomatic heart defects that  may not otherwise be detected in a routine physical. Learn more.