What Is Ventricular Tachycardia?

Ventricular tachycardia is a condition when the heart chamber ( ventricle ) beats very rapidly, ie more than 100 times per minute, with at least 3 abnormal beat in a row. This condition is caused by a disruption in the electrical heart, usually occurs in heart abnormalities, such as cardiomyopathy and coronary heart disease.

This very rapid pulsation disrupts the filling of the heart's ventricle by the blood to be pumped throughout the body, because the feeding time becomes very short. Although generally only lasts in a short time and does not cause symptoms, ventricular tachycardia can also last longer and accompanied by symptoms such as head feels light (dizzy), dizziness, to fainting. Ventricular tachycardia is not treated immediately because it can develop into ventricular fibrillation. This condition is dangerous and is a major cause of cardiac arrest that can cause sudden death.

The type of ventricular tachycardia based on the duration of the attack, the heart rhythm, and the heart's ability to pump blood, are as follows:
  • Nonsustained or unsustainable, where tachycardia immediately stops and returns to normal without causing significant blood flow disruption.
  • Sustained or continuous, ie tachycardia lasting more than 30 seconds, causes decreased blood flow.
  • Monomorphic ie each heartbeat has the same pattern with the next pulse.
  • Polymorphic is a changing heart pattern.
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Causes of Ventricular Tachycardia
Heart rate and rhythm are triggered and regulated by heart electrical stimulation. When there is a disruption in the process of conducting electricity, where electrical signals are sent too fast than they should, the heart will contract faster than normal. This condition is called ventricular tachycardia.
This too rapid contraction will cause the heart's ventricle to not have enough time to fill with blood to pump out of the heart. As a result, the blood pumped decreases in number and the blood needs in all parts of the body can not be fulfilled.

The cause of ventricular tachycardia is not always identifiable. However, in most of the cases, ventricular tachycardia is caused by an existing or unprecedented heart condition. Heart disorders in question include:

  • Cardiomyopathy, ie weakening of heart muscle.
  • Ischemic heart disease or coronary heart disease, a condition that is triggered by a lack of blood flow to the coronary arteries
  • Abnormalities of the heart structure, due to heart attack.
  • Heart failure, the condition in which the heart is so weak that it can not pump enough blood throughout the body.
  • Default heart defect.
  • Myocarditis.
  • Certain drugs, such as decongestants, diet drugs, drugs, and antiarrhythmic drugs.
  • Excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol.
  • Excessive exercise.

In addition to the above trigger factors, there are several types of genetically derived ventricular tachycardia, namely:
  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular tachycardia, a tachycardia caused by a rhythm disturbance in the right ventricle of the heart.
  • Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, a tachycardia caused by ventricular arrhythmias, is triggered by both physical and emotional stress, with no abnormalities in cardiac structures.

Symptoms of Ventricular Tachycardia
Some of the symptoms of ventricular tachycardia that need to be recognized are:
  • Palpitations, namely the feeling of pounding that makes the sufferer feel uncomfortable.
  • Hard to breathe.
  • Chest pain or distress.
  • Dizziness or feels floating.
  • Nearly fainted or fainted ( syncope )
  • Pulse weakened or even not palpable.
Although it does not always show symptoms, ventricular tachycardia that may last a short time or longer must remain vigilant as it can develop into ventricular fibrillation, a dangerous and life-threatening condition.

Diagnosis of Ventricular Tachycardia
Physical examination is performed as an initial examination to check pulse rate, blood pressure, and listening to heart sounds and rhythms.
Other investigations that may be performed on ventricular tachycardia:
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG). To measure electrical activity A 24-hour portable EKG installation to record heart rate may be required to get more accurate results.
  • MRI Heart. To get a detailed picture of the heart, using magnetic waves.
  • Transesophageal echocardiography. Using high frequency sound waves that are inserted through the esophagus to get a more detailed picture of heart valves and heart structures.
  • Angiogram. To find out which parts of the heart do not get enough blood.
  • Electrophysiological studies. To find specific areas of the heart that cause increased electrical stimulation causes ventricular tachycardia.

Treatment of Ventricular Tachycardia
In emergency cases, the treatment of ventricular tachycardia is performed by cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), electrical defibrillation (providing electrical shock from the defribilator), and antiarrhythmic drugs.
Treatment of long-term ventricular tachycardia, in addition to aiming to restore a normal heartbeat, also to prevent attacks occur again, and prevent complications. Actions that can be done are:
  • Installation of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) device inside the chest or abdominal area to help restore the heart rhythm to normal.
  • Ablation procedure using radio frequency ( radiofrequency ablation ). This procedure uses an electric current coming from radio waves to destroy the point of the area in the heart tissue that causes rhythm disturbance.
  • Cardiac -resynchronization therapy through the installation of a device that will regulate the heart rate.
Administration of antiarrhythmic drugs. To prevent lest a similar disturbance occur again.

Prevention of Ventricular Tachycardia
Maintaining cardiovascular health has a major impact on health in general. Not only can prevent the occurrence of ventricular tachycardia, but can also reduce the risk of other heart disease. Changing lifestyle and diet, exercising, and reducing excess weight is the first step that can be done.
Here are some other preventive steps:
  • Keep blood pressure and cholesterol in the normal range.
  • Not using drugs, such as cocaine.
  • Using the free drug in accordance with the recommended dosage.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Limit consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
  • Controlling stress.
  • Perform routine examination and undergo treatment plan in accordance with the conditions that are owned and doctor's advice.

Complications of Ventricular Tachycardia

Complications of ventricular tachycardia, as well as general tachycardia, depend on other heart disorders suffered. Some complications that can occur, among others:
  • Reduced heart's ability to pump enough blood (heart failure).
  • Often fainted.
  • Blockage of blood vessels that can cause stroke or heart attack.
  • Cardiac arrest leading to sudden death.

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