Tachycardia is a medical term that indicates rapid heart rate. An individual with a heart rate over 100 beats per minute is considered to have tachycardia, however, this condition varies in different people and may have many possible causes.
Three types of tachycardia:
1. Atrial or Supraventricular Tachycardia:
Atrial or Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a fast heart rate that starts in the atria of the heart. Other forms are called paroxysmal atrial tachycardia (PAT) or paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT).
Electrical signals in the atria fire abnormally, which interferes with electrical signals coming from the sinoatrial (SA) node. A series of early beats in the atria speeds up the heart rate. The rapid heartbeat does not allow enough time for the heart to fill before it contracts so blood flow to the rest of the body is compromised.
2. Sinus Tachycardia:
This is a fast but steady heart rate usually related to anxiety, emotional stress, exercise or certain drugs. It is not considered dangerous unless and doctors may prefer to treat the underlying cause such as anxiety and depression.
3. Ventricular tachycardia:
Ventricular tachycardia is a fast heart rate that starts in the ventricles. It can be a life-threatening heart rhythm and requires rapid diagnosis and treatment.
Electrical signals in the ventricles fire abnormally, which interferes with electrical signals coming from the sinoatrial (SA) node. The rapid heartbeat does not allow enough time for the heart to fill before it contracts so blood does not get pumped throughout the body. This is considered the more dangerous type due to its potential to escalate into cardiac arrest, heart failure or fibrillation.