Tachycardia is the medical term indicating fast heartbeat. Tachyarrhythmia is a type of arrhythmia causing fast heart rate. Actually not all arrhythmias are serious. Normal heart beat for adult (at rest) is 60-100 times a minute. Anything more than 100 beats per minute is medically called tachycardia.
Various factors like heightened emotions, strenuous exercise, tension and irrational fear can increase your heartbeat. Tachyarrhythmia is the rapid heartbeat caused inappropriately without any specific reason mentioned above.
Types of Tachycardia :
Arteries produce certain electrical signal which ultimately produces heartbeat. But sometimes these signals are chaotic resulting in irregular electrical impulses causing rapid heartbeat called tachycardia. Some of the important types of tachycardia are:
Atrial fibrillation :
In this type rapid heartbeat is produced due to chaotic electrical signals from the artery. This in turn will affect the rhythm and functioning of ventricles. But very often atrial fibrillation is temporary and does not need to be treated. It can be caused due to structural abnormalities, increased blood pressure or valve disorder.
Atrial flutter :
This is the same process as above resulting in fast heartbeat due to irregular contractions of atria.
Supraventricular Tachycardia :
As the name indicates, this type of rapid heartbeat is caused by problems in ventricles which suddenly experiences abnormal circuitry due to overlapping of signals.
Ventricular tachycardia is caused when the ventricles do not follow the normal rhythm of contraction and expansion resulting in rapid heartbeat and sometimes it is dangerous. This type of problem occurs in people with underlying heart problems like valve leakage.
Anything that affects the normal heartbeat can cause risk to your heart. Individuals with underlying heart disease, hypertension, consuming heavy alcohol or substance and those who are under psychological stress are prone to tachycardia.
Old age, family history of cardiovascular diseases and heightened blood pressure can also increase the risk of getting tachycardia.
Rapid heartbeat, excess of sweat, palpitation and shortness of breath are some of the symptoms of tachycardia.
It is easy to identify tachyarrhythmia by conducting an electrocardiogram test. ECG is a device that contains electrodes which are attached to the chest and arms for recording electrical impulses traveling through the heart in particular time. Your doctor will study the patterns to find out any irregularity in heartbeat.
He may also use Holter monitor which is a portable ECG recorder to track your heartbeat for 24 hours timeframe. If required, he would order for electrophysiological test for confirming the diagnoses.
The ultimate aim of the treatment is to reduce the fast heartbeat and regularize it to normal. Generally the heart will automatically correct the irregular electrical impulses to get back to normal heartbeat.
Doctors suggest using Vagal maneuver technique to slow down the heartbeat. This method induces the Vagus nerve which in turn regulates the heartbeat. Some of the methods of maneuver are coughing and bending down.
Anti-arrhythmic drugs are injected intravenously to regulate the heartbeat. Sometimes he may prescribe this drug in the form of oral pills like Tambocor or Rhythmol.
In another method called cardio-version a light electric shock is sent to your heart which would regulate the electrical impulses for restoring the normal rhythm.
All these methods are used to control the irregular heartbeat.
Some people get repeated episodes of tachycardia without responding to any of the above methods. In such cases, catheter ablation is done. This device is used to control and prevent abnormal electrical impulses that induce fast heartbeat.
Some people use pacemaker device that has to be surgically implanted into the heart under the skin. This device produces an electrical pulse which helps in regulating the abnormal rhythm of heartbeat efficiently.
You can also prevent tachycardia by using implantable cardioverter defibrillator. This machine is surgically implanted into the chest which is useful in monitoring the heartbeat and emits electrical shocks to ensure that the heartbeat is in normal rhythm.