Ventricular Tachycardia (VT)

Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is a rapid heart rhythm that occurs in the lower chambers or ventricles of the heart. It often occurs in people with underlying heart disease like coronary artery disease, heart failure, or with a history of a previous heart attack. In these conditions it can result in fainting or death if it persists and is untreated. VT can also happen in people with normal hearts and is called idiopathic VT. 

Symptoms & Signs

The rapid heart rates can cause symptoms of palpitations or a faster heartbeat. The rapid heart rates can cause a drop in blood pressure and symptoms of dizziness, fainting, sweating and chest pain or discomfort may occur. Because VT is often associated with symptoms and in many people can lead to ventricular fibrillation (a dangerously fast and disorganized heartbeat) and sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), it is a serious condition that needs aggressive treatment and follow up.

Treatment

Treatment options include surgery, radiofrequency ablation (burning the area of heart tissue that triggers the abnormal rhythm), and/or medication. People with VT who are risk of sudden cardiac arrest/death are offered an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD). The ICD is a device that can detect the abnormal heart rhythm and restore a normal heart rhythm by either pacing or delivery of a shock.