Tachycardia is the medical term used for a heart rate that is faster than normal, or more than 100 beats per minute. The normal heartbeat of an adult is 60 – 100 beats per minute. Not all fast heart rates cause any concern because in some cases the heart rate increases during exercise or response to stress.

Tachycardia can occur as a result of different heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) and may have no signs or symptoms.
If abnormal tachycardia is left untreated, tachycardia can cause serious complication such as stroke, heart failure, and sudden cardiac arrest.

During tachycardia the heart does not have enough time between beats to supply with blood and this can causes the heart to not be able to provide enough blood and oxygen to all of your cells.

Tachycardia can be treated by slowing the heart rate with the vagal maneuver, medication, cardioversion, and surgery.


Tachycardia can comes in many different of types. The term “sinus tachycardia” describes a common increase in heart rate that is frequently brought on by stress or exercise that usually return to normal upon resting or calming down.

Other forms of tachycardia are categorized based on the area of the heart and the underlying factor that caused the increased heart rate. The following list includes typical examples of tachycardia brought on by arrhythmias:

  • Atrial fibrillation: is a type of arrhythmia present with chaotic and rapid heartbeats in the heart’s upper chambers, or the atria. Atrial fibrillation may be temporary, but some episodes will not resolve without treatment.
  • Atrial flutter: This type is similar to atrial fibrillation, however atrial flutter has more regular heartbeats. Atrial flutter episodes may resolve on their own or may need to be treated. Patients with atrial flutter frequently experience atrial fibrillation.
  • Ventricular tachycardia: Ventricles (lower heart chambers) are affected by this type of arrhythmia as they cannot fill and contract fully to pump enough blood to supply the body because of the fast heartbeat. Episodes of ventricular tachycardia that last within few seconds can occur without any harmful effects. However, prolonged episodes that last longer than a few seconds can be life-threatening.
  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT): Arrhythmias that begin above the ventricles are referred to as supraventricular tachycardia. Palpitations, or episodes of a pounding heartbeat that start and stop suddenly are brought on by supraventricular tachycardia.
  • Ventricular fibrillation: is an abnormal electrical signal that start from the lower chambers and causes rapid irregular heartbeat. During ventricular fibrillation, the heart cannot supply enough blood to the rest of the body. This is an emergency condition that requires immediate medical attention. Major heart conditions or serious injury are associated with the development of ventricular fibrillation.


Blood may not reach the rest of the body properly if the heart is beating too fast which causes the organs and tissues will not receive enough oxygen that may lead to the following signs and symptoms:

  • Palpitations, rapid pulse rate, or pounding heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath

Patient with tachycardia may not develop any symptoms. Some cases tachycardia had been diagnosed during physical assessment or tests for another purpose.

Seek medical help if the patient is experiencing signs and symptoms of tachycardia. Blood pressure can drop significantly due to ventricular fibrillation. Patients may collapse, and the respiration and pulse will eventually stop, therefore emergency emergency medical intervention is needed.


Tachycardia is the increase in heart rate that could be for any reason, for example physical activity or stress reaction could normally increase the heart rate. Irregular heart rhythm could also cause tachycardia.

The following factors could cause tachycardia:

  • High blood pressure or low blood pressure
  • Heart disease (cardiac myopathy, heart attack, other heart diseases)
  • Fever
  • Consuming more caffeine
  • Consuming more alcohol or alcohol withdrawal
  • Smoking or drug abuse (example cocaine or methamphetamine)
  • Side effects of medication
  • Electrolytes imbalance (sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium)
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Excess bleeding or anemia

Risk factors

The following could increase the risk to developing tachycardia:

  • Family history: Family member with history of a certain heart problems, or tachycardia.
  • Age: The older the patient, it increases the risk for tachycardia.
  • Lifestyle: Tobacco, alcohol, or caffeine increase the risk. Stress could trigger tachycardia.
  • Other disease: High blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, other heart issues.