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Ventricular Tachycardia (VT)

Sustained Ventricular Tachycardia (VT)  

What is sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT)?

VT is a fast and chaotic heart rhythm that comes from the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) and lasts more than 30 seconds.  Unlike nonsustained ventricular tachycardia (NSVT), sustained VT is life-threatening and can result in cardiac arrest.   

Why do people get VT?

Sometimes healthy people with healthy hearts have VT.  Causes of VT include scarring of the heart tissue (from heart attacks, infections, and certain autoimmune diseases), large coronary artery blockages (obstructive coronary artery disease), structural heart problems including congenital heart disease and valvular heart disease, illicit drugs, congestive heart failure, severe electrolyte imbalances, medication side effects, and inherited/familial cardiac electrical problems.   

Is it Dangerous?

Yes.  VT can lead to sudden cardiac arrest which can kill someone.  This is a serious condition that needs aggressive treatment and follow-up.   

Signs & Symptoms of VT

Severe lightheadedness, shortness of breath, chest pain, cold sweats, fainting, a racing heart or palpitations, defibrillator/ICD shock(s), unconsciousness. 

What should I do if I’m experiencing an episode of VT?

For sustained VT, we recommend calling 911.  If you have a defibrillator and experience a single shock and then feel okay, call the device clinic.  If you faint, are shocked more than once in a row, or are shocked once but continue to feel poorly you need to call 911. 

How is it Diagnosed? 

How is it Treated?