Tachycardia or tachyarrhythmia is having a heart rate of >100 beats/min.

Divided into supreventricular and ventricular tachycardia.

Signs and symptoms related to rapid heart rate are altered sensorium, angina, shortness of breath, myocardial infarction, hypotension and other signs of shock (eg cold clammy skin, low urine output), heart failure or pulmonary congestion.


  • Ventricular tachycardia is more common in patients with a history of cardiac disease
  • Atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT) is more common in women than in men
  • In adolescents, atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT)  & atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia (AVRT) is more prevalent
  • Use of the accessory pathway for tachycardia is more frequent in younger population & decreases with age


  • Used interchangeably with tachyarrhythmias, used to describe the presence of cardiac rhythm abnormality in states when cardiac rate is increased to >100 bpm

Signs and Symptoms

Serious signs & symptoms are often demonstrated at ventricular rates >150 bpm

Signs & symptoms related to rapid heart rate (HR):

  • Altered sensorium
  • Angina
  • Hypotension
  • Shirt flapping/neck pulsations [more common in atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT)]
  • Polyuria [more common in atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT)]
  • Other signs of shock (eg cold clammy skin, low urine output), heart failure (HF) or pulmonary congestion
  • Shortness of breath (SOB)
  • Myocardial infarction (MI)
  • Palpitations
  • Syncope, light-headedness

Risk Factors

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes mellitus (DM)
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Increasing age
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Cardiothoracic surgery
  • Excessive alcohol intake
Digital Edition
Asia's trusted medical magazine for healthcare professionals. Get your MIMS Cardiology - Malaysia digital copy today!
Editor's Recommendations
Most Read Articles
10 Mar 2018
Compared to triple therapy, dual antithrombotic therapy yields reduced bleeding without excess ischaemic and thromboembolic cardiac events in patients with long-term indication to chronic oral anticoagulation following percutaneous coronary intervention, according to a new study.
11 Mar 2018
Coffee consumption appears to protect against the risk of developing hypertension in a dose–response fashion, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis.
10 Mar 2018
In overweight/obese children and adolescents, wrist circumference is not only a marker of insulin resistance but is also correlated with elevated systolic blood pressure (SBP), a recent study has shown.
21 Dec 2017
Results from the ASCOT-LLA study suggest that patient reports of muscle-related adverse events were more common when patients knew they were being treated with a statin. We discussed this phenomenon, known as the ‘nocebo effect’, with senior investigator, Prof. Peter Sever.