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Tachycardia: Symptoms and Treatment




Heart palpitations when the heart rate per minute is 90 beats or more is called tachycardia. Tachycardia is not an independent disease, but only a separate manifestation, symptom.

Causes of tachycardia

In medicine, conventionally, there are two types of tachycardia:

  • physiological,
  • pathological.

Physiological tachycardia

Physiological tachycardia can only be evidence of strong emotional or physical stress. Most often this is a natural reaction of the body to various external stimuli, contributing to an increase in blood flow to certain organs.

Causes of physiological tachycardia:

  • emotional stress - any positive or negative emotions;
  • physical exertion - from simple climbing stairs to intense workouts in the gym;
  • the use of tonic - strong tea, coffee, alcohol, energy drinks, smoking;
  • use of drugs - atropine, corticosteroids, etc .;
  • climatic influences - heat, high air humidity, stuffiness.

Pathological tachycardia

The cause of pathological tachycardia can be cardiovascular diseases or functional disorders of other systems of the body, for example, vegetative, endocrine.

The main "non-cardiac" causes:

  • dehydration,
  • big blood loss
  • anemia,
  • adrenal gland tumor
  • hyperthyroidism
  • psychosis,
  • neurosis,
  • fever with sore throat, tuberculosis or any other infectious disease.

Often the cause of the increase in heart rate are pain syndromes of any origin, fever.

Most cardiovascular diseases can also trigger the development of tachycardia:

  • chronic heart failure;
  • myocardial infarction;
  • myocarditis, endocarditis, pericarditis and other inflammatory heart diseases;
  • heart defects - congenital, acquired;
  • additional carrying bundles.

In the case of idiopathic tachycardia, it is not possible to establish clear causes of a rhythm disorder.

Tachycardia classification

The primary source of heartbeat is excessive excitation of certain parts of the heart. Normally, the formation of an electrical pulse occurs in the sinus node, subsequently spreading to the myocardium. In the presence of pathologies, nerve cells in the ventricles and atria become primary sources. The classification of tachycardia is based on the determination of the primary sources of cardiac contraction.

Doctors distinguish between several types of tachycardia:

  • sinus
  • ventricular,
  • atrial
  • atrioventricular.

It may indicate hemodynamic or endocrine, autonomic nervous system functions, and other diseases.

Sinus tachycardia

Sinus tachycardia is characterized by correct heart rate and a gradual increase in the number of heartbeats to 220 beats per minute. It may be inadequate or adequate. The first is a rare disease of unknown origin, manifested in a state of rest, accompanied by a lack of air.


Sinus tachycardia may be asymptomatic or accompanied by minor symptoms:

  • frequent dizziness,
  • feeling short of breath,
  • weakness,
  • dyspnea,
  • insomnia,
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • persistent palpitations,
  • decrease in working capacity and deterioration in mood.

The degree of symptoms depends on the threshold of sensitivity of the nervous system and on the underlying disease. For example, in heart diseases, an increase in heart rate causes a worsening of the symptoms of heart failure, an angina attack.

Sinus tachycardia is characterized by a gradual onset and end. Reduction of cardiac output is accompanied by impaired blood supply to tissues and various organs. There may be dizziness, fainting, in case of a lesion of the cerebral vessels - convulsions , focal neurological disorders. Prolonged sinus tachycardia is accompanied by a decrease in diuresis, a decrease in blood pressure, and a cooling of the limbs is observed.


The purpose of diagnostic measures is the differentiation of sinus tachycardia and the identification of causes.

  • ECG - determination of rhythm and heart rate;
  • Daily monitoring of ECG - the identification and analysis of all types of cardiac arrhythmias, changes in cardiac activity during normal patient activity.
  • MRI of the heart, EchoCG - identification of intracardiac pathologies.
  • EFI - study of the propagation of an electrical impulse through the heart muscles to determine cardiac conduction disturbances, the mechanism of tachycardia

To exclude blood diseases, pathological activity of the central nervous system, endocrine disorders, additional research methods are carried out - brain EEG, complete blood count, etc.


The method of treatment is determined by the cardiologist and other specialists, depending on the reasons for its occurrence.

With physiological sinus tachycardia, drug treatment is not required. It is only necessary to eliminate the factors causing an increase in heart rate - the use of alcohol, drinks containing caffeine, spicy foods, nicotine (smoking), chocolate. You should also avoid intense physical and psycho-emotional stress.

In pathological sinus tachycardia, the treatment is primarily aimed at treating the underlying disease. In the event of ineffectiveness of drugs, methods of psycho- and physiotherapy, or the threat to human life, RFA of the heart (cauterization of the affected area) or implantation of a pacemaker can be used.

Ventricular tachycardia

With ventricular tachycardia, cardiac activity can reach 220 beats per minute. The work of the heart in an uneconomical mode leads to heart failure, which can cause ventricular fibrillation - complete disorganization of cardiac functions, arrest of blood circulation and result in a fatal outcome.


There are two types of ventricular tachycardia, differing in their symptoms:

  • hemodynamically stable - rapid heartbeat, heaviness, compression in the heart, chest, dizziness;
  • hemodynamically unstable - the patient loses consciousness several seconds after the first manifestations of ventricular tachycardia.

Arises suddenly, in the second case, loss of consciousness is the only manifestation of an increase in heart rate.


An ECG is usually sufficient to confirm the diagnosis of ventricular tachycardia. According to the electrocardiogram, it is possible to assess the localization of ventricular tachycardia.

  • Daily ECG monitoring does not just state a fact, but is also responsible for the duration of the episodes, their connection with various events, such as physical exertion.
  • EFI - determined by the electrophysiological characteristics of ventricular tachycardia.

In some cases, implantable loop monitors and cardio telemetry can be used.


The main methods of treatment of ventricular tachycardia are aimed at the prevention of new attacks, treatment of the underlying disease.

In many cases, catheter ablation (cauterization) allows to get rid of the attacks. It has not yet been possible to achieve a permanent stable effect using methods of drug therapy. In the presence of hereditary canalopathies, structural pathologies, a cardioverter-defibrillator is implanted.

Atrial tachycardia

Atrial tachycardia is a rare form of tachycardia. Occurs in any small area of ​​the atria. It may occur from time to time or this condition may last for several days, months. Elderly patients suffering from severe heart failure may experience several pathological foci.


Atrial tachycardia may be asymptomatic or patients experience only a strong heartbeat. In some cases, dizziness, shortness of breath, pain in the chest. Older people may not pay attention to a slight increase in heart rate.


Usually, atrial tachycardia is detected by chance - during stress tests with an ECG or during a visit to the doctor with complaints of pain in the heart and dizziness.

Diagnose atrial tachycardia is possible only during an attack -
ECG. In some cases, a cardiologist stimulates an attack during an electrophysiological study.


Atrial tachycardia usually does not represent a serious danger to human health. But in order to avoid the risk of an increase in the size of the heart by a cardiologist, drug therapy and catheter ablation may be recommended.

Atrioventricular tachycardia

Two main options for atrioventricular tachycardia:

  • atrioventricular nodal tachycardia;
  • atrioventricular tachycardia involving additional pathways.

Atrioventricular tachycardia occurs quite often.


Rare seizures occurring with a high frequency are very significant clinically. They are accompanied by:

  • lower blood pressure
  • angiotic pain,
  • suffocation
  • ripple in the neck,
  • violation of consciousness.

It starts suddenly, the duration of the attack - from several minutes to several days. It is most common in women and is usually not associated with heart disease.


Diagnostic measures include:

  • history taking is sufficient for preliminary diagnosis of atrioventricular tachycardia;
  • physical examination;
  • instrumental diagnostics methods - ECG, CPPS, EFI, Holter monitoring; stress ECG tests.


The frequency of attacks of atrioventricular tachycardia can sometimes be significantly reduced with the help of medications and physiotherapy. The method is determined by the etiology, form of tachycardia, the presence of additional complications, the frequency of attacks. In some cases, the method of ablation.

Tachycardia in children

Normal heart rate in children depends on age:

  • 123-159 beats per minute - age 1-2 days;
  • 129-166 beats per minute - 3–6 days old;
  • 107-182 - age 1-3 weeks;
  • 121-179 - age 1-2 months;
  • 106-186 - age of 3-5 months;
  • 109-169 - age 6–11 months;
  • 89-151 - age 1–2 years;
  • 73-137 - age 3-4 years;
  • 65-133 - age 5–7 years;
  • 62-130 - age 8-11 years;
  • 60-119 - age 12–15 years.

Supraventricular tachycardia is the most common type of tachycardia found in children. Usually it passes with age without the intervention of physicians.

Less common in children is ventricular tachycardia, and if left untreated, it is life threatening.


The symptoms of pediatric tachycardia are similar to those of adult tachycardia:

  • chest pains
  • dizziness,
  • cardiopalmus,
  • dyspnea,
  • fainting
  • nausea,
  • pallor,
  • sweating
  • weakness.

Children with tachycardia are restless, capricious. The veins are pulsing, the child is frightened, it may suffocate, the mucous membranes, the skin turn pale or turn blue. Increased drowsiness is one of the symptoms of tachycardia in newborns.


Diagnosis of tachycardia in children is complicated by the age of patients. The child can not talk about their feelings, so the specialist should rely only on research data:

  • laboratory tests for blood, urine, hormone tests;
  • instrumental - ECG, daily monitoring of Holter, heart ultrasound, MRI, echocardiography, etc.

Often observed in thin children with a narrow chest, undeveloped muscles - asthenic physique.


The method of treatment is determined by the type of tachycardia, the age of the child. Medical treatment is usually sufficient, but in some cases radiofrequency ablation or surgery may be required.

Tachycardia in pregnant women

Tachycardia is one of the most common pathologies in pregnant women. The main cause of this condition is changes in the cardiovascular system. To date, several other causes of tachycardia in pregnant women are scientifically substantiated:

  • anemia,
  • obesity,
  • overdose of vitamins and drugs
  • bronchial asthma,
  • pulmonary infection
  • thyroid pathology,
  • temperature rise,
  • ectopic pregnancy,
  • dehydration,
  • heart failure and other diseases of the cardiovascular system
  • blood loss
  • placental abruption,
  • injury,
  • sepsis.

A constant feeling of anxiety and stress can also provoke an attack of tachycardia. Tachycardia in pregnant women can be associated with bad habits - smoking, alcohol, drinks containing caffeine.


The increase in the heart rate of pregnant women is considered to be the physiological norm, but you should consult a doctor with the following symptoms:

  • pain in the heart or chest;
  • nausea, vomiting;
  • frequent dizziness, fainting;
  • unreasonable fatigue;
  • excessive anxiety.

Numbness of parts of the body may also occur.


Diagnostic measures - laboratory and instrumental studies with appropriate restrictions depending on the duration of pregnancy and the state of health of the woman.


More often the tachycardia passes as soon as the woman calms down. In other cases, the doctor selects a method of treatment according to the degree of tachycardia. This takes into account the body mass index of the future mother.

What is dangerous tachycardia?

In addition to fatigue, unpleasant, sometimes painful sensations, any tachycardia becomes a cause of heart failure — the heart wears out. In addition to conduction disturbances, heart rhythm tachycardia can produce such complications as:

  • cardiac asthma,
  • arrhythmic shock,
  • pulmonary edema,
  • cerebral thromboembolism,
  • acute circulatory failure of the brain,
  • pulmonary embolism.

Ventricular tachycardia in combination with acute myocardial infarction can cause death.

Prevention of tachycardia

Prevention of tachycardia - the rejection of bad habits, early diagnosis, treatment of the underlying disease. Tachycardia of gum inflammation, sore teeth, any chronic inflammation - nasopharynx, urinary system, etc.

| 20 December 2014 | | 15 510 | Uncategorized