Sinus tachycardia

Sinus tachycardia is a condition that occurs when the sinus rhythm of the heart beats over 100 beats per minutes. This heart condition is commonly found with myocardial infarction. The increased rhythm starts from the senatorial node which is located in the right atrium of the heart and is responsible for heart rate. A normal heart beat is between 60-100 beats per minute for an adult. A normal infant heart beat is between 110-150 beats per minute. The older a person is the slower the normal heart rate is.

Symptoms of sinus tachycardia are dizziness, chest pains, shortness of breath and anxiety. Sinus tachycardia is also known as rapid heart beat. It can occur any time there is an increased demand for more blood to be pumped through the heart. It can also occur if the electrical system of the heart is stimulated by chemicals or drugs like cocaine, caffeine, alcohol or certain allergy or cold medications. Exercise requires the heart to pump more oxygen through the blood to the muscles so a temporary increase heart rate may occur then as well. Dehydration will also increase the heart rate as the heart beats faster because there is less fluid in the body. Any time there is a loss of blood due to an accident or injury the heart rate will also increase. During stressful times the body will release more adrenaline which can increase the heart rate as well. Increased thyroid hormones can also cause sinus tachycardia.

Certain other medical conditions can cause sinus tachycardia. These conditions include such ones as: anemia, congestive heart failure, malignant hyperthermia, endocrine disorders, hyperthyroidism, sepsis, pulmonary embolism, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, etc. Women who are pregnant may also experience an increased heart rate of about 10-20 beats per minute more than normal.

The most common medical treatment for sinus tachycardia is drug therapy. However, people who have a sinus node aberration may experience negative side effects with normal cardiac medications. The most common drugs used are beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and anti-arrhythmic drugs. The beta blockers and the calcium channel blockers will limit the effect of adrenaline on the sinus node. The anti-arrhythmic drugs have an affect on the firing rate of the sinus node.

Non drug therapies include increasing salt intake or electrical shock treatments to bring the heart rate back to normal if the condition is severe and ongoing. Some heart specialists advise radio frequency ablation for sinus tachycardia. Radio ablation of the sinus node completely removes it and can permanently prevent sinus tachycardia. This is a preferred treatment for patients who do not want to take medications for the rest of their life for this condition or for others who can not tolerate drug treatments for it. Sinus tachycardia may improve over time for some patients without doing anything at all. People who do not have severe symptoms may be advised to wait to see if it resolves itself. Open heart surgery is the last result that may be used for very severe sinus tachycardia. Surgery of this type is only considered win all other treatments fail.

When a patient goes to the doctor complaining of sinus tachycardia symptoms a complete medial history should be taken. Treatment is based on how long the patient has been having symptoms, how severe the symptoms are and how often and when they occur. Patients will also be evaluated for other diseases or disorders that may be causing them to experience sinus tachycardia symptoms. Since sinus tachycardia is a normal response to certain conditions in the body, it is not in itself something that should cause a person to be overly concerned. Your doctor will be able to determine whether there is need for treatment or for lifestyle modification.


Last updated on Dec 19th, 2009 and filed under Cardiovascular Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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