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
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
and ‘Heart palpitations’ at..