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Tuesday, 04 September 2018 12:22

What is Tachycardia?

Tachycardia refers to a fast-resting heart rate - usually at least 100 beats per minute. Tachycardia can be dangerous, depending on its underlying cause and on how hard the heart must work.
In general, the adult resting heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute. When an individual has tachycardia, the upper and/or lower chambers of the heart beat significantly faster.
Our heart rates are controlled by electrical signals that are sent across the tissues of the heart. When the heart produces rapid electrical signals, tachycardia occurs.
When the heart beats too rapidly, it pumps less efficiently and blood flow to the rest of the body, including the heart itself, is reduced.

Causes of tachycardia


Tachycardia is generally caused by a disruption in the normal electrical impulses that control our heart's pumping action - the rate at which our heart pumps. The following situations, conditions, and illnesses are possible causes:

  • A reaction to certain medications
  • Congenital (present at birth) electrical pathway abnormalities in the heart
  • Congenital abnormalities of the heart
  • Consuming too much alcohol
  • Consumption of recreational drugs
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Hypertension
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland)
  • Smoking
  • Certain lung diseases


Sometimes, the medical team may not identify the exact cause of the tachycardia.

Symptoms of tachycardia


The following signs and symptoms of tachycardia are possible:

  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Palpitations - an uncomfortable racing feeling in the chest, sensation of irregular and/or forceful beating of the heart
  • Panting (shortness of breath)
  • Sudden weakness
  • Syncope (fainting)


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Possible complications of tachycardia


The risk of complications depends on several factors, including:

  • The severity
  • The type
  • The rate of tachycardia
  • The duration of tachycardia
  • Whether other heart conditions are present


The most common complications include:

  • Blood clots - these significantly increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • Heart failure - if the condition is not controlled, the heart is likely to get weaker. This may lead to heart failure. Heart failure is when the heart does not pump blood around the body efficiently or properly. The patient's left side, right side, or even both sides of the body can be affected.
  • Fainting spells.
  • Sudden death.


If you notice a rapid heartbeat or any of the above symptoms, please contact Dr. Shahzad or call 911 immediately!



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