Ventricular tachycardia

Synonyms: V-tach, VT

Medical Specialties: Cardiology, Emergency medicine


Clinical Definition

Ventricular tachycardia is a cardiac arrhythmia, originating in the right or left ventricle of the myocardium. Due to the rapid rhythm the myocardium is not able to fill with blood prior to contraction. This prevents blood from circulating through the body efficiently. Ventricular tachycardia may develop due to cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease or after a myocardial infraction. As it can lead to sudden cardiac death, ventricular tachycardia is considered a life threatening condition. 


In Our Own Words

Tachycardia is an abnormally fast heart rate of at least 100 beats per minute, and in ventricular tachycardia, the heart rate is often well over 120 beats per minute and starts in the lower chambers of the heart, the ventricles.

 

Because the heart is beating so fast, it is not able to fill and pump blood properly possibly leading to shortness of breath, passing out, and even death. Ventricular tachycardia may develop from heart failure, after a heart attack or in other heart disorders. If ventricular tachycardia continues for more than 30 seconds, it is considered sustained and can lead to cardiac arrest. Immediate medical attention is required, and in the longer term, options may include an implantable defibrillator.

Relevant Conditions
  • Heart disease
Common Types
  • Non-sustained (NSVT)
  • Sustained VT
Side Effects
  • Lightheadedness
  • Unconsciousness
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sources
  • Cleveland Clinic. Ventricular Tachycardia. Accessed February 2014. 
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