Ventricular Tachycardia (V-Tach)
Ventricular tachycardia is a fast heart arrhythmia that starts in the lower chambers (ventricle). This is usually a serious condition, if fast enough or if prolonged. It may cause palpitations, chest discomfort, lightheadedness, fainting, shortness of breath, sweating, poor feeding in infants, paleness, heart failure and even threaten the patient’s life. On the other hand, if brief in duration in an otherwise normal heart, it usually causes minimal symptoms or none at all.
A comprehensive evaluation by a cardiac electrophysiologist such as Dr. Villafañe is usually recommended to rule out risk factors such as electrical disorders as well as other associated or underlying causes.
Risk factors includes symptomatic patients (such as fainting or seizures), positive family history, exercise-induced V-tach, sustained or polymorphic V-tach, heart failure, congenital heart defects, heart surgery, tumors, inflammation of the heart, drug overdose, drowning, chest trauma, adverse effects from medications, hypothermia, hyperthermia, electrolyte imbalance, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, medical illness, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome and electrical disorders.
A cardiovascular evaluation will include blood tests, 24-hour Holter recording, stress testing and echocardiogram.
Other diagnostic tests may include an electrophysiology study (EP testing), cardiac catheterization and endomyocardial biopsy.
Treatment is usually required trying to prevent V-tach from recurring. Treatment may include medicines, treating the cause, endocardial catheter ablation, surgery and, in exceptional cases, implantation of a defibrillator.