Tachycardia

Tachycardia Your Health

About This Condition

About Tachycardia (Fast Heartbeat)

If you have tachycardia, your heart may beat up to 400 times per minute. This can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or a fluttering in the chest.

Definition

Tachycardia is a fast or irregular heart rhythm, usually more than 100 beats per minute and as many as 400 beats per minute. At these elevated rates, the heart is not able to efficiently pump oxygen-rich blood to your body.

Tachycardia can occur in either the upper heart chambers (atrial tachycardia) or lower heart chambers (ventricular tachycardia).


Causes

Causes of tachycardia include:

  • Heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Poor blood supply to the heart muscle due to coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis), heart valve disease, heart failure, heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy), tumours, or infections
  • Other medical conditions such as thyroid disease, certain lung diseases, electrolyte imbalance, and alcohol or drug abuse
  • Emotional stress or drinking large amounts of alcoholic or caffeinated beverages

Symptoms

Symptoms of tachycardia include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Sudden weakness
  • Fluttering in the chest
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting

Risk Factors

Certain conditions can increase your risk of developing tachycardia:

  • Coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis)
  • Heart failure (poor pumping heart)
  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
  • Congenital heart defects (condition you are born with)
  • Inflammatory or degenerative heart conditions
  • Chronic lung disease

This website is intended to be educational and is not to be used as a diagnostic tool. It is not intended to replace the information provided to you by your healthcare providers and does not constitute medical advice. The information may not be directly applicable for your individual clinical circumstance. Please talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.