Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is a rapid type of heartbeat that starts in the lower part of the heart (ventricles). VT occurs with three irregular heartbeats in a row, with a pulse rate of at least 100 beats per minute.
Although it is not known what causes VT in young people, VT is usually caused by heart disease and can occur after heart surgery. It can also be caused by changes in blood chemistry, certain types of arrhythmic medications and lack of oxygen. If left untreated, VT can lead to atrial fibrillation, which can ultimately be life-threatening.
Like atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter, symptoms can include:
- Heart palpitations
- Fast pulse
- Chest pain
- Lightheadedness and fainting
Treatment for ventricular tachycardia includes CPR, defibrillator surgery and certain types of anti-arrhythmic medication. Some types of VT can be treated with an ablation procedure, a catheter-based procedure that delivers electrical signals to the heart tissue to stop abnormal firings of the heart.