Sinus Tachycardia

Sinus Tachycardia is an example of supraventricular rhythm.  In sinus tachycardia, the sinus node fires between 100 and 180 beats per minute which is faster than normal.  The normal resting rate in the average adult ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute.

The following are situation in which tachycardia is normal:
  • Response to exercise even running up a flight of stairs
  • Emotional upset or anxiety
  • When running a fever
  • When a patient is pregnant
  • When ingesting caffeine or alcohol
  • Smoking
The following is when the rhythm is in response to an abnormal physiologic conditions such as:
  • Hypotension / hypertension
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Shock
  • In the presence of heart disease
  • During a heart attack
Signs and symptoms of sinus tachycardia:
  • Accelerated heart rates
  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden weakness
  • Syncope (fainting)
Treatment of Tachycardia:
  • Vagal Maneuvers – This maneuver affects the vagal nerve which helps regulate the heartbeat.  Maneuvers may include coughing, heaving (as if you were having a bowel movement), and placing an icepack on the patient’s face.  If none of these do not work, then the patient may need an anti-arrhythmic medication.
  • Medications – An anti-arrhythmic injection is administered to restore a normal heartbeat.  This is done in the hospital.
  • Cardioversion – paddles or patches are used to deliver an electric shock to the heart and can restore a normal rhythm.  This is also carried out in the hospital.  Cardioversion can be used in emergency situations or when nothing else will work.
Possible complications of tachycardia:
  • Blood clots
  • Heart failure
  • Fainting Spells
See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms and get the necessary treatment.

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