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VENTRICULAR TACHYCARDIA


VENTRICULAR TACHYCARDIA

Definition
Ventricular tachycardia is an abnormally fast heart rate. The abnormal heart rate originates in one of the heart’s lower chambers (ventricles). It is diagnosed when there are three or more beats in succession originating from a ventricle. The heart beats at a rate greater than 100 beats per minute, but less than 200 beats per minute. Ventricular tachycardia is considered sustained if it lasts more than 30 seconds. When this condition is sustained, the ventricles are not able to fill with enough blood for the heart to keep blood flowing properly through the body. This can result in lowered blood pressure, heart failure, and death.


Ventricular tachycardia is a fast heart rate that arises from improper electrical activity in the lower chambers or ventricles of the heart. If there is no structural heart disease, it is usually not life threatening and can be treated with ablation or medication.

If there is structural heart disease such as coronary artery disease, heart attack in the past, Weak heart or a genetic abnormality, VT may rapidly generate into ventricular fibrillation and become fatal within a few seconds. When people die suddenly it is usually from ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation . The more dangerous forms of ventricular tachycardia are treated with a defibrillator, medications, ablation or a combination of the above.

Although a few seconds may not result in problems, longer periods are dangerous. Short periods may occur without symptoms or present with lightheadedness, palpitations, or chest pain. Ventricular tachycardia may result in cardiac arrest and turn into ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular tachycardia is found initially in about 7% of people in cardiac arrest.

Ventricular tachycardia can occur due to coronary heart disease, aortic stenosis, cardiomyopathy, electrolyte problems, or a heart attack. Diagnosis is by an electrocardiogram (ECG) showing a rate of greater than 120 bpm and at least three wide QRS complexes in a row. It is classified as non-sustained versus sustained based on whether or not it lasts less than or more than 30 seconds. The term “ventricular tachycardias” refers to the group of irregular heartbeats that includes ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, and torsades de pointes.

In those who have a normal blood pressure and strong pulse, the antiarrhythmic medication procainamide may be used. Otherwise immediate cardioversion is recommended. In those in cardiac arrest due to ventricular tachycardia cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation is recommended. Biphasic defibrillation may be better than monophasic. While waiting for a defibrillator, a precordial thump may be attempted in those on a heart monitor who are seen to go into an unstable ventricular tachycardia. In those with cardiac arrest due to ventricular tachycardia survival is about 45%. An implantable cardiac defibrillator or medications such as calcium channel blockers or amiodarone may be used to prevent recurrence.
Extracted from Wikipedia

For pacemakers or defibrillators
Risks of procedure are mainly infection – if that occurs, the entire system must be removed, injury to the lung requiring placement of a chest tube for 1-2 days, injury to the heart muscle or lead dislodgement requiring repositioning. The risk of any of these is less than 1 percent.

The risk of SVT ablation or VT ablation is injury to a vein in the groin which can require local surgery, injury to the heart muscle or ending up needing a pacemaker. The risk of any of these is well below 1 percent.

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Cardiac Arrhythmia Services

We are sometimes referred to as the electricians of the heart. We treat all types of heart rhythm disorders: hearts that beat slowly, quickly or erratically. We evaluate patients with palpitations to help diagnose the etiology of palpitations and then cure the underlying problem. In addition to palpitations, shortness of breath, fatigue, anxiety, dizziness (syncope) are some other manifestations of arrhythmia.

Common arrhythmias that we deal with are atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and ventricular tachycardia (VT). We usually try medication to treat arrhythmias but when medications are insufficient we may recommend an ablation procedure.

There are different types of ablation but they all aim at eliminating the source of the arrhythmia. Our practice is at the forefront of technology and we use the newest techniques and equipment available to provide the safest and most effective therapy to our patients. We implant and manage all types of pacemakers and defibrillators. We have one of the largest and most efficient remote monitoring programs in the state of Florida. Remote monitoring allows us to watch over and treat our patients in between their office visits. At Cardiac Arrhythmia Services we have 3 cardiac electrophysiologists, 2 physician assistants, 2 remote monitoring technicians, 3 nurses and a staff of 19 people who all work together on daily basis to ensure that our patients get the best care possible.

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