Ventricular Tachycardia (VT)

Chest | Cardiology | Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) (Disease)


Ventricular tachycardia (TV) is a rhythm disorder whose center is located in the ventricle. Ventricular tachycardia (VT) refers to any rhythm faster than 100 (or 120) beats per minute arising distal to the bundle of His. The rhythm may arise from working ventricular myocardium and/or from the distal conduction system.

VT may be reflected in symptoms such as syncope, palpitations, and dyspnea. It is often, but not always, associated with hemodynamic compromise, particularly if the left ventricle is impaired or the heart rate is especially fast. With some exceptions, VT is associated with increased risk of sudden death.

Causes and Risk factors

Ventricular tachycardia is a pulse rate of more than 100 beats per minute, with at least three irregular heartbeats in a row. The condition can develop as an early or late complication of a heart attack.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment depends on the symptoms, and the type of heart disorder. Some people may not need treatment. If ventricular tachycardia becomes an emergency situation, it may require: CPR, electrical defibrillation or cardioversion (electric shock), anti-arrhythmic medications (such as lidocaine, procainamide, sotalol, or amiodarone) given through a vein.

Long-term treatment of ventricular tachycardia may require the use of oral anti-arrhythmic medications (such as procainamide, amiodarone, or sotalol). However, anti-arrhythmic medications may have severe side effects. Their use is decreasing in favor of other treatments.

Some ventricular tachycardias may be treated with an ablation procedure. Radiofrequency catheter ablation can cure certain tachycardias. A preferred treatment for many chronic (long-term) ventricular tachycardias consists of implanting a device called implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). The ICD is usually implanted in the chest, like a pacemaker. It is connected to the heart with wires. ...