Cardiac arrest is a very common cause of death. Reasons leading to such deathly coronary consequences are many. Ventricular Tachycardia is a leading cause characterized by abnormal heart rate that is above 100 beats a minute. Learning more about the disorder is worthy as you can switch to proper diagnosis and treatment in a jiffy. Leaving the condition untreated can cause damage beyond repair. It paves way for ventricular fibrillation that ultimately causes death.
What is ventricular tachycardia?
The condition is exquisitely a heart rhythm disorder, also known as arrhythmia.
Before elucidating on what the disorder is all about, are you aware of the functional role of ventricles? Calling these as the lower chambers of the heart isn’t incorrect. Blood from the body is transported to the atria or upper chambers of the heart. The blood is quite poor with no oxygen at all. Following the rhythm, the blood is pushed down to the ventricles, from where it is pumped out to the body and lungs. Functioning of all vital organs depends on the circulation of freshly pumped oxygen-rich blood.Little did you know about the functional importance of electrical impulses
They work as electronic signals that control heart rate. Every contraction is controlled by these electronic impulses. When the rhythm is disrupted, the electronic signals are passed on too quickly. Heartbeat steps-up in the count, giving the ventricles very limited time to get filled with blood before contraction takes place and is pumped out.
Consequence? The entire malfunction bars the body from pumping out enough blood to the system. Ventricular tachycardia lasts for just a couple of seconds or a little longer depending on its impact. Abnormally high heartbeats of more than 100 per minute with at-least three irregular heartbeats are noted. Like most other disorders, ventricular tachycardia can be classified into many other varieties.
Variations of Ventricular Tachycardia and on what does it depend?
Ventricular Tachycardia can be classified based on morphology, clinical presentation, and duration. According to morphology, ventricular tachycardia can be:
- Torsade’s de Pointes or Polymorphic with prolonged QT.
- Ventricular Flutter
- Ventricular Fibrillation.
Ventricular tachycardia according to the clinical presentation can be either “Haemodynamically stable” or “Haemodynamically Unstable” followed up with loss of consciousness and cardiac failure. Lastly, if the ventricular agitation lasts for 30 seconds or less, it is known as sustained ventricular tachycardia. On the contrary, if there appear three or more consecutive ventricular abnormalities that shut off spontaneously in less than 30 seconds, the condition is known as non-sustained.
What are the prominent symptoms of ventricular tachycardia?
Bear in mind, disorders like ventricular tachycardia exist for brief periods as well. It may or may not show up symptoms. If the consequences last for a longer duration, there will be obvious symptoms. For example:
- Chest pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Shortage of breath
Keep tabs on the symptoms and get done with diagnosis quick. If the problem lingers, it will turn to ventricular fibrillation and cardiac death finally.
How is the diagnosis performed?
Kick-starting with the diagnosis process of ventricular tachycardia is super-advanced now. The rhythm is monitored and viewed on a telemetry rhythm strip or 12-Lead ECG. In a few cases, it might be very difficult to differentiate in between ventricular tachycardia and supra-ventricular tachycardia. The latter condition springs up when a bundle branch block is often misdiagnosed as ventricular tachycardia. Patients diagnosed with monomorphic VT should right-away be treated with a cardio version of synchronized direct current.
Sounds too fancy, right? Well, it describes conduction of an energy dose of 100J.
Much of the treatment depends on whether the patients are stable, and the ventricles are functional or impaired. Stable patients can undergo end-organ perfusion without any traces of hemodynamic compromise. To ensure appropriate diagnosis, doctors would first follow up with a discussion session to a review a person’s symptoms and family history, if any. Various tests would also be suggested to check for severity of the condition and the real cause behind it.
These tests include:
Electrocardiogram – Some know it as the ECG or EKG, it is one of the commonest tool, widely used to diagnose conditions like ventricular tachycardia. The best about the test is that it’s painless. It effectively showcases the heart’s electrical activity by using small sensors or electrodes stuck to the patient’s chest and arms. This test successfully records the strength of electronic signals passing through the tissues in the hearts and its timings. Doctors use it to gain insight into the recurrent pattern of a heartbeat. Sometimes, Holter portable monitors are even suggested to patients to keep a track of the heartbeat pattern on a regular basis.
Cardiac imaging – The name suggests much. Images of the heart are taken to take note of structural abnormalities if any. A different version of imaging tests is available
However, for V-tach, here are a couple of options recommended.
- Echocardiogram – In this form of a test, a transducer is placed on the patient’s chest that diffuses waves and detects the same. It helps achieve a moving picture of the heart using the emitted sound waves. The test is a massive success when determining abnormalities in the heart valve and muscles, leading to the poor blood supply.
- Computerized Tomography (CT) – CT scans are quite popular, combining a variety of X-ray images to achieve a detailed cross-sectional picture of the organ.
- MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging – Cardiac MRI is extremely useful as it helps achieve a still or moving record of blood flow in the heart. Any irregularities are easily spotted.
- Chest X-ray – Still pictures of the chest are taken to check whether the organ has enlarged or not.
- Coronary Angiogram – It is a befitting test to get schooled about the flow of blood through the heart and lungs. Blockage if any, is immediately detected and the inside of the coronary arteries are completely exposed.
Stress Test – This is a power test performed by doctors to see how the heart functions when wrapping up intense exercises. Even medications are given to amp up heartbeats. Then electrodes are placed on a patient’s chest and the behavior of the organ is entirely monitored.
Plenary of other tests are suggested to track conditions like monomorphic ventricular tachycardia. Proper diagnosis and early treatment cure the conditioning without weakening the heart muscles.