Tachycardia treatment is characterized by a heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute. There are many variants of this clinical entity, with different prognoses.
The heart is an extremely complex organ that beats more than 2.5 billion times in the lifetime of an 80-year-old individual. It is considered the most powerful and important muscle conglomerate in the whole body, since it is in charge of sending blood to all the tissues of the body and, with it, the oxygen and nutrients necessary for life. In just over a minute, this structure pumps all of the body’s blood and supplies all of our cells.
In order for cardiac contraction to occur, the nervous system follows a series of rather complex steps. The rhythm of electrical impulses begins in automated neurons in the sinus node, located in the right atrium of the heart. By different routes, this impulse reaches the atrioventricular (AV) node, which in turn ends up splitting between the left and right branches of the bundle of His. Each branch incurs the left and right ventricles, and it is the Purkinje cells on each side that cause ventricular depolarization.
Explained quickly and running, this is the mechanism that causes the ventricles to contract and, therefore, the start of the heartbeat. The normal rate at which all these events occur is 60 to 100 contractions per minute, but what is the cause of a significant increase in heart rate? To answer this question and many more, we address in the following lines the 5 types of Tachycardia treatment and their characteristics. Do not miss it.
What is a Tachycardia treatment and what are its types?
Depending on age, a normal heart rate can vary. For example, a 1 to the 3-week old baby may have a heart rate of 160 beats per minute and this is not a problem. In any case, in humans, an atrial and/or ventricular contraction rate greater than 100 beats per minute (tachycardia) or less than 60 (bradycardia) is considered abnormal. Furthermore, the established cut-off point depends on the underlying condition of the patient. For example, when a sepsis frame is happening, any value greater than 90 beats per minute is considered tachycardia.
Tachycardia treatment can be physiological or pathological. In the first case, the person who suffers from it is responding in a normal way to an exogenous stimulus through intense emotion. For example, when we hear a thunderous noise and feel in danger, one of the first hormones to kick in is adrenaline. It increases the heart rate (tachycardia), contracts the blood vessels, dilates the airways, and prepares us to fight or run.
This physiological response is considered part of normal in humans, and therefore physiological tachycardias do not necessarily reduce life expectancy or pose a long-term problem. However, things change when this accelerated heart rate is derived from depression, chronic anxiety, kidney failure, anemia, severe bleeding, or cardiac shock. Based on these premises, we present the 5 types of Tachycardia treatment.
1. Atrial fibrillation (AF)
In this variant, the heart beats very fast and at an irregular rhythm. Most episodes are asymptomatic, but sometimes you may feel dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath, and chest pain. It is correlated with clinical entities such as hypertension and congenital valve diseases (valvular heart disease).
It is the most common type of arrhythmia (and therefore tachycardia) in the general population. In addition, it is divided into 3 different variants, depending on the degree of establishment of the clinical sign:
- Paroxysmal AF : short-lived. It does not exceed 7 days and disappears spontaneously.
- Persistent AF : does not go away on its own and lasts more than 7 days. In this case, it is necessary to turn to medications.
- Chronic AF : the most worrisome variant of all. It is of progressive onset and does not respond to outpatient treatments.
In all variants, in the first instance, antiarrhythmic drugs (pharmacological cardioversion) or electric shocks with a defibrillator (electrical cardioversion) are used. Also, if the fibrillation is caused by an underlying clinical entity, it should be treated as well.
2. Atrial flutter
An abnormal heart rhythm leads to fast heart rhythms, such as supraventricular Tachycardia treatment. It is very common in people with baseline problems in the circulatory system, such as cardiomyopathy, ischemic heart disease, or hypertension, among many other clinical entities. In this specific condition, a premature electrical current is generated in the atrium and this causes perpetual feedback within the atrial region.
At first, atrial flutter is well-tolerated, but little by little it generates symptoms in patients with already present heart disease, such as chest pain, dizziness, nausea, anxiety, and many other clinical pictures. Prolonged flapping can lead to heart failure, so cardioversion is often necessary as well.
3. Taquicardia supraventricular (TSVP)
In this case, the heart rhythms are excessively fast but regular, due to problems that lie in the branches of the bundle of His, named in the first lines of this space. It manifests with anxiety, chest tightness, rapid pulse, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, etc. It is not always a serious clinical entity, but the fact that the heart rate can reach 250 beats per minute requires, at a minimum, constant monitoring.
In addition, PVST is intermittent, so a patient experiencing it must wear a 24-hour Holter monitor for a period of time to receive the correct diagnosis. You can try to stop this Tachycardia treatment with some home remedies, but if it does not stop, it is necessary to visit the emergency room and inject drugs intravenously.
4. Ventricular tachycardia
Ventricular tachycardia is accompanied by other clinical entities of a cardiac nature that already cause symptoms by themselves, such as shortness of breath, fainting, or chest pain. It is an extrasystolic event in the ventricle, or what is the same, that depolarization and contraction occur earlier than normal in the ventricular environment.
In general, this heart maladjustment is experienced in the form of an abnormally strong heartbeat, but then the heart regains its physiological stability on its own. If ventricular Tachycardia treatment lasts more than 30 seconds, it is considered sustained.
In this clinical picture, things get a bit complicated, since it is not only about avoiding an abnormal heart rhythm, but also about minimizing the chances of sudden death (remember that this tachycardia is accompanied by previous conditions). For this reason, a cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is usually implanted in the patient, the purpose of which is to detect spontaneous arrhythmia and correct it. ICDs constantly and continuously monitor the heart, thus preventing death from serious arrhythmias.
5. Ventricular fibrillation
One of the most serious tachycardias in the clinical setting. The ventricular rhythm is extremely fast (more than 250 beats per minute), which results in the absence of normal contraction, a chaotic rhythm, the lack of blood in the body, and, therefore, the death of the patient. It is the final rhythm of almost all sudden deaths, and it appears as a death stamp in practically all heart diseases.
In 80% of cases, ventricular fibrillation arises from severe ischemic heart disease. The only possible treatment is emergency defibrillation, but you have to be quick: with every minute that passes, your chances of survival are reduced by 15%.
As you have seen, pathological Tachycardia treatment can go from a strong heartbeat to death in a matter of minutes. You must bear in mind that most of them are preceded by a heart problem or valvular disease, so patients who present them are on alert and usually have medications and protocols on hand to prevent heart rhythm imbalances from ending badly. In any case, atrial fibrillation is usually a sign of death in almost all cases, whether or not you are prepared for it.
Finally, we want to emphasize that not all Tachycardia treatments are bad. If you feel constantly agitated and after doing the relevant tests (electrocardiogram) everything has gone well, it is most likely that you have continued anxiety and stress over time. In these cases, the answer is found in a psychological clinic and not in the cardiologist.
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