Ventricular tachycardia is a condition in which the lower chambers of your heart (ventricles) beat very quickly. Ventricular tachycardia is a type of tachycardia, a condition in which your heart beats quicker than normal because of a problem in your heart's electrical system.

In ventricular tachycardia, your heart may not be able to pump enough blood to your body and lungs. Ventricular tachycardia may lead to a condition in which your lower heart chambers quiver (ventricular fibrillation), which may cause your heart to stop (cardiac arrest) and lead to death if not treated immediately.

  • Experience. Mayo Clinic doctors have experience diagnosing and treating people with ventricular tachycardia and other heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias). Doctors treat thousands of people with heart rhythm disorders each year.
  • Team approach. Mayo Clinic doctors trained in heart and blood vessel conditions (cardiologists), heart rhythm conditions (electrophysiologists), and other specialties work together to provide your care.
  • Treatment expertise. Mayo Clinic doctors have expertise treating adults and children with ventricular tachycardia using cardiac ablation and other treatments.
  • Research. Mayo Clinic doctors conduct research in new diagnostic tests and treatments for ventricular tachycardia and other heart rhythm disorders and conduct clinical trials.

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Doctors trained in cardiovascular diseases and cardiovascular and thoracic surgery treat adults with ventricular tachycardia and other heart rhythm disorders at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. The staffs in the Arrhythmia Clinic and the Electrophysiology Laboratory evaluate and treat people with heart rhythm disorders.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Doctors trained in cardiovascular diseases and cardiothoracic surgery treat adults with ventricular tachycardia and other heart rhythm disorders at Mayo Clinic in Florida. The staffs in the Pacemaker Clinic and the Electrophysiology Laboratory perform electrophysiology tests, cardiac ablation and other procedures to evaluate and treat people with heart rhythm disorders.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Doctors trained in cardiovascular diseases and cardiovascular surgery treat adults and children with ventricular tachycardia and other heart rhythm disorders at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Staff in the Heart Rhythm Clinic evaluates and treats people who have all types of heart rhythm disorders. Staff in the Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Ablation Laboratory conducts electrophysiology tests, cardiac ablation and other procedures to treat people with heart rhythm disorders.

For appointments or more information, call Cardiovascular Diseases at 507-284-3994 or Cardiovascular Surgery at 507-255-2000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form. No physician referral is necessary.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Doctors trained in pediatric cardiology and cardiovascular surgery treat children with ventricular tachycardia or other heart rhythm disorders at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Staff in the Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Ablation Laboratory conducts electrophysiology tests and other procedures to diagnose and treat children with heart rhythm disorders.

507-538-3270
7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in heart and blood vessel conditions (cardiologists), heart rhythm conditions (electrophysiologists), and other specialties evaluate your condition.

To diagnose ventricular tachycardia, your doctor may review your symptoms and your family and medical history and conduct a physical examination. Your doctor may order several tests to diagnose your condition, determine the severity of your condition and determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition.

  • Electrophysiology tests. During an electrophysiology test, your doctors insert thin, flexible tubes (catheters) with electrodes at the tips in a blood vessel in your arm or groin and thread them through your blood vessels to several areas within your heart. Once in place, the electrodes precisely map the spread of electrical impulses throughout your heart.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). In an ECG, sensor patches with wires attached (electrodes) on your skin measure your heart's electrical impulses.
  • Echocardiogram (Doppler echocardiogram). In this test, sound waves create detailed images of your heart's size, structure and motion.
  • Coronary angiogram. In this test, doctors insert a catheter into your blood vessels and inject a type of dye that's visible on X-ray through the catheter into your blood vessels. The dye shows the inside of your blood vessels and shows whether coronary artery disease is causing ventricular tachycardia.
  • Blood tests. Blood tests may be used to check thyroid hormone or potassium levels in your blood that may lead to ventricular tachycardia.
  • Stress test. During a stress test, you'll exercise on a treadmill or stationary bicycle — or take a drug that simulates heart activity during exercise — while an electrocardiogram or other tests monitor your heart activity.
  • Holter monitor. A Holter monitor is a portable ECG device that you wear for a day or more to record your heart's electrical activity during your daily routine.
  • Event monitor. An event monitor is a portable ECG device that you can activate when you experience symptoms of an arrhythmia.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in heart and blood vessel conditions (cardiologists) and heart rhythm conditions (electrophysiologists) work with doctors trained in other areas to provide your ventricular tachycardia treatment.

The goals of ventricular tachycardia treatment include restoring your normal heart rhythm, regulating your heart rate and preventing blood clots. Your ventricular tachycardia treatment may include several options.

  • Cardiac ablation. In cardiac ablation, doctors insert thin, flexible tubes (catheters) through blood vessels in your neck, arm or groin and thread them through your blood vessels to your heart. Doctors then apply heat (radiofrequency energy) or extreme cold (cryotherapy) through the catheters to destroy the abnormal heart tissue causing your condition.
  • Pacemakers. Doctors may implant a small device (pacemaker) under your skin near your collarbone to help control and monitor your heart rhythm.
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). Doctors may implant a small device (ICD) under your skin below your collarbone to send electrical signals to your heart when your heart rate reaches a certain limit or goes very fast, to help regulate your heartbeat.
  • Cardioversion. Doctors may use an electrical shock or drugs to restore your normal heart rhythm.
  • Medications. Your doctor may prescribe medications to help slow your heart rate, regulate your heart rhythm or prevent blood clots.
  • Follow-up care. You'll receive follow-up care from doctors and other staff to monitor your heart rate. You may benefit from cardiac rehabilitation.

Mayo Clinic heart rhythm specialists study causes, new diagnostic tests and treatments for tachycardia and other heart rhythm disorders. Read more on the cardiovascular research website.

Publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic authors on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Nov. 20, 2012