What Do I Need to Know About Ventricular Tachycardia?

While only about 90,000 Americans are diagnosed with this heart issue every year, ventricular tachycardia is something to be on the lookout for—especially for those who have a history of heart issues, diabetes or high blood pressure.

What is it, you ask? Our AFC Urgent Care Hixson center provides some helpful answers below, so keep reading.

What Is Ventricular Tachycardia?

Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is caused by irregular electrical signals in the ventricles. VT causes the heart to beat too quickly, preventing the proper amount of blood from being pumped to the rest of the body. Shortness of breath, dizziness and even loss of consciousness can occur when the remainder of the body’s organs do not receive enough oxygen.

In the majority of cases, ventricular tachycardia lasts for about 30 seconds and causes the symptoms indicated below.

Common Ventricular Tachycardia Symptoms

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Pounding heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath

Can Ventricular Tachycardia Be Treated?

It can, although it can’t really be treated at home. There are things you can do on a daily basis that can limit your risk and help it to be more infrequent, like exercising often and maintaining a healthy diet. However, medical treatment and even surgery are really the only things that can stop VT in its tracks.

If VT is a common or sustained issue for you, your doctor will likely suggest one of the treatments that we’ve listed in the section below.

Most Common VT Treatments

  • Radiofrequency ablation. This is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to destroy the cells that cause ventricular tachycardia. Although effective, it’s not quite as effective among people who have already-existing heart damage.
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). This is an implanted device that provides an electrical pulse to the heart that helps to reset a dangerously irregular heartbeat.
  • Medication. Medications such as sotolol, flecainide and propafenone can all help to prevent arrhythmic heart issues.

No matter the day of the week, our AFC team can provide the non-emergency care you need! Stop by today.