Atrial tachycardia is a rhythmic disturbance in the atria. It can cause the heart to beat for 100 to 300 times in a minute whereas the normal heart rate is 60 to 80 beats per minute. This problem develops when the heart’s electrical system is flawed. Persons with a normal heart as well as an abnormal heart can suffer from this problem. Persons with a congenital disease and especially those who go in for surgery for these causes are at a greater risk of developing this medical condition. The right diagnosis of the problem distinguishes between the left sided Atrial tachycardia and the right sided Atrial tachycardia. Various signs and symptoms pin point towards this medical condition.
Signs and symptoms of this medical condition
One can experience some or all of these symptoms that speak of an underlying problem.
- A person suffering from this can get sudden bouts of palpitations in the heart. One can feel the heart fluttering or perhaps beating little harder and faster.
- The rapid pulse rate is regular in most Atrial tachycardias. The rapid pulse rate might be irregular in atrial tachycardia’s cases with variable atrioventricular conduction and in MAT, which is multifocal AT.
- One can also experience episodic or paroxysmal occurrence.
- Incidence of fainting, dizziness, dyspnea, feeling light headed, fatigue and pain in the chest are also common.
- One might feel an increased urge to urinate more frequently.
- Patients also feel shortness of breath and tightness in the chest.
The risk factors that increase the probability of a person to develop atrial tachycardia are the following-
- With age, the risk to develop this problem also increases.
- Certain medicines, especially the ones for cancer and heart health might increase the risk of getting this problem, in the long run.
- Alcohol, caffeine and nicotine when used in high amounts can lead to this problem.
- Electrolytes are essential for the proper functioning of the heart. If, due to vomiting or dehydration there is an electrolyte imbalance in the body, then this problem can develop.
- Many diseases can cause this medical condition. These include lung disease, thyroid problem, heart attack, cardiac ablation, heart surgery and heart failure.
Diagnosis and treatment
The diagnosis of this problem is based on the symptoms told by the patient. Also, the duration and severity of the problem are considered. Blood test, ECG, echocardiogram, exercise stress test, holter monitor and other such tests help to make an exact analysis. After a thorough diagnosis, the treatment is chalked out, which varies from patient to patient. Your doctor might brief you about vagal maneuvers which are methods to slow down the electrical signal coming from your atria. One such example of vagal maneuvers is dipping one’s face in ice cold water. Other treatment methods for AT involve medication, lifestyle changes, correcting electrolyte imbalance, using blood thinners and using a pacemaker. Sometimes surgery is needed to correct atrial tachycardia.