Ventricular tachycardia is a heart rhythm disturbance, a type of arrhythmia. Patients with ventricular tachycardia have a fast, steady abnormal heart rhythm in one of the bottom chambers (ventricles) of the heart. Ventricular tachycardia can develop after a heart attack or in patients with weak heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), heart failure, heart surgery, inflammation of the heart, and in valvular heart disease. Ventricular tachycardia can also be caused by anti-arrhythmic medications, changes in blood chemistry such as a low potassium level, or lack of enough oxygen. In rare cases, ventricular tachycardia can arise in otherwise normal hearts.
If ventricular tachycardia is caused by an underlying serious heart condition, it can be life-threatening unless immediate, emergency treatment is provided—typically a defibrillator is used to give an electrical shock that converts the fast heartbeat to a normal heart rhythm. When ventricular tachycardia is not life threatening, treatment usually involves medications and addressing the underlying cause. For some patients, a catheter ablation procedure that destroys tissue in the heart causing the arrhythmia may be recommended. For other patients, ventricular tachycardia treatment may require surgical implantation of a small electronic device called an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) to prevent sudden death.
The Cardiac Arrhythmia Service at Brigham and Women's Hospital's state-of-the-art Shapiro Cardiovascular Center is an internationally recognized leader in the evaluation and treatment of the most complex types of heart arrhythmias, a condition which affects millions of people each year. The Center provides innovative treatment for all types of cardiac arrhythmias, including ventricular tachycardia treatment, atrial fibrillation treatment, and pacemaker surgery.
The Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital provides innovative and comprehensive care for patients requiring ventricular tachycardia treatment as well as treatment of underlying heart conditions, including heart failure treatmentand vascular disease treatment. A robust research program enables physicians to provide patients with the very latest in prevention, diagnosis and treatment for a wide variety of cardiovascular conditions. Our Cardiac Arrhythmia Service at the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center is devoted solely to the care of patients with irregular heart rhythms, heart palpitations and rapid heartbeat conditions like ventricular tachycardia. Treatment is provided by some of the world's most experienced physicians in cardiac electrophysiology, the study of the heart's electrical system.
In addition to ventricular tachycardia treatment, our specialists at the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service provides patients with all types of arrhythmias with leading-edge, state-of-the-art, full service care. Our advanced imaging and surgical technology enables fast, accurate diagnosis and innovative treatment. Patients who come to Brigham and Women's Hospital have access to the latest medications, devices and interventions available.