This is an abnormally fast heart rate in the lower chambers of the heart – the ventricles – when a person is resting. The condition occurs as a result of rapid rhythm in the ventricles. The heart starts to beat rapidly due to electrical signals that commence in the lower chambers (ventricles) instead of starting at the SA node which is the heart’s natural pacemaker.
The normal rhythm between the upper and lower heart chambers is interrupted and disrupts blood flow out of the heart and around the body.
The symptoms include dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness and fainting. The person may feel heart palpitations, racing of the heart or fluttering in the chest.
There are several causes of ventricular tachycardia: high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart failure and even alcohol or drug misuse.
The treatment may involve giving rhythm medications to restore the normal heart
rate or electro shock treatment. In some cases, an implantable cardiac defibrillator will be used to detect abnormal rapid heart rates and to restore the correct rhythm.
When the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair suffered from an irregular heart beat in late 2003 he was given electro shock treatment in hospital to restore the heart rate.
* Also, see our features on: ‘An irregular heartbeat’ at..
and ‘Heart palpitations’ at..