What Is Ventricular Tachycardia?
Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is a heart rhythm disorder caused by faulty electrical signals that make your heart beat faster, at a rate of 100 beats a minute or faster. It can cause your heart’s chambers to fall out of sync, so your heart can’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs.
The condition may last only a few seconds, without any symptoms, or much longer, causing fainting, palpitations, lightheadedness, chest pain and dizziness. If left untreated, VT can cause severe complications, even a heart attack.
If you experience any of the symptoms of VT, your doctor may use a variety of tests to determine the cause. These can include:
Using X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scans or other methods, your doctor can get accurate images of your heart in motion to analyze how it works.
A thin, flexible tube called a catheter will be inserted into a blood vessel and guided to your heart. The catheter can detect electrical signals and can determine where faulty signals are coming from.
Electrodes will be placed on your chest as you walk or jog on a treadmill to test how your heart functions.
This test uses electrodes placed on your skin to detect the timing and strength of electrical signals in your heart. Portable devices may be used to record your heart activity throughout your day to get a better understanding of what may be causing your issues.
Ventricular tachycardia treatments
Our interdisciplinary team of heart specialists offers several treatments for VT, from medications to help control your irregular heartbeats to procedures in more severe cases. Specialized treatments may include:
During ablation, a specially trained doctor will guide a thin, flexible tube (catheter) inserted into a blood vessel to your heart. Using small electrical charges, the catheter is used to burn small sections of tissue to cut off faulty electrical signals.
Many types of heart rhythm disorders benefit from having small devices implanted to regulate your heart. For VT, this will most likely be an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). When the ICD senses a rapid heartbeat, it sends a small electric impulse to bring your heartbeat back to normal.
When VT leads to severe complications, our experts are ready to provide immediate care. Using defibrillators and medication, we can help restore your heart to a normal rhythm. After you’re stabilized, our doctors can recommend the best course of action to help treat your condition and prevent dangerous episodes from happening again.
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