Atrial tachycardia is when the upper chamber of the heart have increased heart beat per minute than the standard, which will be as high as between 100 to 250 beats per minute. This condition is a type of arrhythmia or an irregular heart rhythm.
Atrial tachycardia may begin gradually or rapidly. Light-headedness, dizziness, and fainting are all symptoms of atrial tachycardia. Patient could also feel like their heart is pounding or racing. Although there are many potential causes for this condition, it is typically not dangerous. People who have undergone cardiac surgery or are pregnant may experience atrial tachycardia.
Other factors could also trigger this condition by alcohol intake, stimulant drugs, and an infection. Atrial tachycardia can be treated by stabilizing the heart rate with medications, vagal maneuvers, cardioversion, catheter ablation, implanted devices, as well as lifestyle adjustment for preventive measures.
Types of atrial tachycardia are the following:
- Focal: This type of atrial tachycardia begins in a particular area (focus) of the heart. Normally, it is not harmful but if it persists for a while, then it could cause harm.
In cases that there are more than one focus, it is called multifocal atrial tachycardia. This particular form of atrial tachycardia may be easier to diagnose but more challenging to cure. Numerous lung conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are the major causes.
- Micro-reentrant: This type is usually found in scar tissues related to post atrial ablation or surgery. This kind of atrial tachycardia affects a larger region. Additionally, it frequently occurs because the signal must pass through a region of scar tissue or a part of your heart.
Atrial tachycardia can occur without symptoms, and they can suddenly develop and resolve in a short period of time.
Adults typically experience the following symptoms when it occurs:
- Palpitations or rapid heartbeat
- Lightheadedness or Dizziness
- Chest pain
- Difficulty of breathing or shortness of breath.
In an infant or children these symptoms can occur:
- Poor feeding
- Nausea vomiting
- Rapid breathing
Atrial tachycardia can have several possible causes. It may include:
- Coronary heart disease, heart attack, or other type of heart diseases
- Coronary Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Alcohol intake
- Medications such as digoxin
- Caffeinated beverages