Ventricular tachycardia (VT)

Ventricular arrhythmia

Ventricular tachycardia is an arrhythmia which causes your heart to pump abnormally fast and inefficiently

About ventricular tachycardia

VT is a fast heart rhythm caused by abnormal electrical impulses in one of the main pumping chambers of the heart (the ventricles). When the ventricles pump too quickly, your heart can't circulate blood efficiently. This can cause symptoms like breathlessness, chest pain and dizziness. In serious cases, it can lead to fainting or cardiac arrest. 

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms of ventricular tachycardia?  icon plus

    Like other types of arrhythmia, VT affects your heart's ability to circulate blood throughout your body. Resulting symptoms may include:

    Rapid ventricular tachycardia can be serious and may lead to a loss of consciousness and degenerate into ventricular fibrillation, causing your heart to stop beating (cardiac arrest). VT may develop if you have a history of a heart attack where heart muscle has been replaced by scar tissue. It can also be caused by diseases of the heart muscle known as cardiomyopathies. It is common in normal hearts.

  • Diagnosing VT  icon plus

    If your GP or consultant thinks you might you have VT, there are a number of outpatient tests available:

    • A Holter monitor, a portable ECG recording device to monitor your heart over time, is the main way to detect arrhythmia, including VT.
    • You will be given an electrocardiogram (ECG) that records the rate, rhythm and electrical activity of your heart.

    Sometimes other tests are needed like an exercise ECG, an ECG carried out as you walk on a treadmill. Alternatively you may have an implantable loop recorder. You will also have an echocardiogram, an ultrasound test of your heart and a coronary angiogram.

  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Effective treatments are available for nearly all types of arrhythmia. HCA UK is home to some of the most advanced cardiac care facilities and a dedicated group of consultant cardiologists, cardiac physiologists, and clinical nurse specialists. If you're diagnosed with VT, your consultant will discuss your treatment options to determine the best approach for you depending on your symptoms. Options might include:

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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