Ventricular Tachycardia | Symptoms | MedStar Health

Advanced care for a potentially life-threatening heart rhythm disorder

Normally, the heart beats around 60 to 100 times per minute when you’re not physically active. If you have ventricular tachycardia, a type of arrhythmia, your heart’s lower chambers beat faster than 100 times per minute.

Our Electrophysiology Program provides advanced care for ventricular tachycardia and other irregular heartbeats.

If you have ventricular tachycardia, it may be a result of another heart problem, such as:

What are the symptoms and complications of ventricular tachycardia?

Some episodes last only a few seconds and may not cause any symptoms. For longer, more severe episodes, symptoms can include:

If you notice any of these symptoms, call 911 right away. Serious cases of ventricular tachycardia can lead to sudden cardiac arrest, a stoppage of the heart, which is life-threatening without emergency care. Long-term, this condition can cause heart failure without proper care.

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The most common test for ventricular tachycardia is an electrocardiogram which measures your heart’s electrical activity. Other tests can tell us more information about your heart rhythms, as well as whether structural heart issues are involved.


An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.

Event monitors

An event monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but where an electrocardiogram takes place over a few minutes, an event monitor measures heart rhythms over a much longer time.

Holter monitors

A Holter monitor is a small device that records the heart’s electrical activity. It’s similar to an electrocardiogram, but whereas an electrocardiogram records over a few minutes, a Holter monitor records over the course of a day or two.

Loop recorder

A loop recorder is a device that’s implanted underneath the skin of your chest to record your heart rhythm for up to three years.


Your doctor will address any underlying conditions that may contribute to your ventricular tachycardia. You also may need cardiac ablation or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator to reduce your risk of future episodes.

Arrhythmia treatments (heart rhythm)

Treatments for arrhythmias, or heart rhythm disorders, such as minimally invasive procedures, implantable devices, and surgery, vary based on the type and severity of your condition.

Cardiac ablation

Cardiac ablation uses heat or cold to destroy heart tissue causing abnormal heart rhythms known as arrhythmias.

Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a device implanted below your collarbone that monitors your heart’s rhythm. When it detects an abnormal rhythm, it delivers an electrical impulse or shock to the heart to correct it.

Additional information

Electrophysiology Program

We are leaders in developing and using the latest procedures and technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders, and our cardiac electrophysiology laboratory is one of the most sophisticated in North America.


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