A heart rate that exceeds 100 beats per minute in adults while at rest is termed as tachycardia. It can be due to physiological and pathological reasons mostly due to the underlying heart diseases. The symptoms may not be present in some of the cases. The symptoms are palpitations, shortness of breath, confusion, pain in the chest, dizziness, and fainting. Tachycardia should be diagnosed properly and treated to check out life-threatening complications like heart failure, cardiac arrest, and even death.
What Can Be Done For Tachycardia?
Proper diagnosis, treatment, and prevention can be done for tachycardia. Your physician will study your symptoms, heart rate through physical examination, your lifestyle, health and medical history. After establishing the diagnosis, the treatment can be done efficiently with modification of lifestyles, therapeutic measures, and surgery in required cases.
The tests required to be done to establish the diagnosis of tachycardia are-
Electrocardiogram: ECG is the best diagnostic tool to record the timing and strength of the electrical signals that control the activity of the heart. Your physician will observe the patterns of the signals to find out the type of tachycardia and other abnormalities present in the heart.
Echocardiogram (echo): Echo is useful in getting the moving pictures of the heart with the help of sound waves. It is useful to detect the areas of diminished blood flow in the heart, abnormal heart valves and improperly working heart muscles.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI provides the moving pictures of the heart and helps to study the flow of blood inside the heart and find other abnormalities in the heart.
Coronary Angiogram: The coronary angiogram is used to find out any blockage or abnormality in the heart and blood vessels to study the flow of the blood through the heart and blood vessels.
Chest X-ray: Radiography or chest x rays provide still images of the heart and lungs. It is helpful to detect the enlargement of the heart and lungs.
Stress Test: Your physician will perform exercise /stress test to study your heart functions during exercise usually when you walk on a treadmill.
Your physician will advise you to modify your lifestyles like abstinence from alcohol, cocaine, coffee and other recreational drugs. The treatment of tachycardia can be done by following ways-
Vagal Maneuvers- Doctor will perform vagal maneuvers when you have an episode of a fast heart rate that will affect your vagus nerve to slow down the heartbeat.
Medications- if your pacing heartbeat is not controlled by vagal maneuvers, then your physician will prescribe you an anti-arrhythmic pill or injection to slow down the heart rate.
Cardioversions- If both vagal maneuvers and antiarrhythmic medicines fail to regulate the fast heartbeat, then your physician will deliver a shock to your heart through automated external defibrillator on your chest. It is used in emergency care to rectify the electric impulses of the heart and restore normal heart rhythm.
The best way to prevent future episodes of tachycardia, your physician will recommend you the following –
- Catheter ablation to repair heart impulses
- Regular use of antiarrhythmic medicines with or without calcium channel blockers and beta blockers
- Artificial pacemaker surgically implanted to provide you efficient electrical supply for heart
- Cardioverter implanted to monitor the increase in heart rate and provide calibrated electrical shocks to restore a normal heart rate.
- Open heart surgery to treat underlying heart conditions.
After confirmation of tachycardia and the underlying condition, your physician will go for the treatment. He will slow down the pace of the heart and prevent future episodes and eradicate future complications.