Ventricular Tachyarrhythmia

What is Ventricular Tachycardia?

ventricular tachycardia is an arrhythmia that originates in the pumping chambers, or the ventricles. It is usually seen in patients who have damaged ventricular chambers, frequently in the aftermath of a heart attack or myocardial infarction. Scar tissue in the ventricles will alter many local electrical properties and set up conditions favorable to formation of a local electrical circuit. Under specific circumstances, the circuit can be activated leading to a rapid arrhythmia arising from within the pumping chambers. As this is always more rapid than the heart”s natural electrical activity, it takes over the heart-beat for the duration of the arrhythmia. Due to the fact that this rhythm is usually very fast and occurring in damaged chambers, the heart may not function properly or efficiently and low blood pressure of fainting may result. In its most extreme form, ventricular tachycardia can lead to fatal consequences. This is a potentially dangerous arrhythmia that almost always requires therapy. In some patients, ventricular tachycardia may occur when there is no structural heart disease. This “idiopathic” form often arises from the right ventricle and less often from the left ventricle. These arrhythmias are less dangerous, but also often require therapy. Treatment: In symptomatic patients with normal hearts, VT can be cured with cardiac ablation. In those with a history of heart disease, an ICD, possibly combined with medical therapy, is required to control the condition. Patients with recurrent episodes who are not controlled with medications need cardiac ablation.

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What are Premature Ventricular Complexes (PVC) ?

An extra beat originating from the ventricles is called a VPC. In patients with normal hearts, this is a benign condition. However, in patients with an underlying heart disorder, this can indicate a life-threatening problem. Patients are often symptomatic with palpitations or skipped beats. Treatment: In patients with normal hearts, asymptomatic VPCs generally do not require treatment; however, some patients may experience symptoms that require medical therapy. Cardiac ablation is successful in curing this condition when these extra beats arise in the right side of the heart. If significant heart dysfunction is suspected, then an electrophysiology study is recommended to determine whether a life threatening abnormal heart rhythm is present, which may require treatment with an ICD.

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What is Ventricular Fibrillation?

ventricular fibrillation is a fatal arrhythmia characterized by rapid, disorderly contraction of the ventricles. If immediate defibrillation is not administered when this occurs, blood pressure cannot be maintained and death will occur. Symptom is usually Syncope. Treatment: Cardiac defibrillation. Survivors will need implantation of cardiac defibrillator.

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