Blood circulates through our body transporting oxygen, water and nutrients to our tissues and organs, and retrieves the carbon dioxide, toxins and metabolic waste that our cells produce, in order to take it to the kidneys which will filter them and take them out of our body. We need a constant flow of blood to be alive, and the heart is the organ that takes charge, pumping this fluid through our blood vessels every second of our life.
The heart has a pace called the heart rate, which should remain constant, and be adequate for the requirement of blood our body is experiencing at the moment. For a number of reasons, our heart could be beating faster than it needs, losing efficiency and causing problems that could be severe if untreated. Ventricular tachycardia is a heart problem that happens when the electrical signals that make the bottom half of our heart beat do not work properly.
1. Fast beating of the heart
This is the easiest symptom to remember because the word tachycardia comes from ancient Greek and means, literally, “a heart beating fast”. When the ventricles, which are the lower two chambers of the heart, have tachycardia, they tend to beat faster than they normally would, and this affects the way the blood is pumped up through our arteries. Healthy ventricles go through a constant cycle of relaxation and contraction; in the first phase they get filled with blood, and in the second phase they contract and pump the blood out through the valves that connect the ventricles and the arteries such as the aorta.
Ventricular tachycardia happens when the electrical signals that reach the bottom half or our heart are poorly coordinated and faster than they should be. The ventricles respond by contracting and relaxing more times per minute. In order to be diagnosed as tachycardia, a heart beating pattern must be faster than a hundred beats per minute.