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Atrial Tachycardia

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Atrial tachycardia is a condition that causes your heart to beat more than 100 times each minute. Atrial tachycardia is also called supraventricular tachycardia. It can develop because of problems with your heart's electrical system. Any of the following may also put you at risk for atrial tachycardia:
  • A heart condition, hypertension, or fatigue
  • Anxiety, stress, or pain
  • Large amounts of caffeine from coffee, tea, and energy drinks
  • Heavy alcohol use or cigarette smoking
  • Use of some medicines or street drugs

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call 911 or have someone call if:

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest that lasts longer than a few minutes. Chest pain may come and go.
    • Pain in your jaw, neck, one or both arms, upper and lower back, or stomach.
    • Shortness of breath, or panting
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Lightheadedness
  • You cannot be woken.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your pulse is faster than your healthcare provider said it should be.
  • You have frequent periods of a fast heart rate.
  • You feel weak or dizzy.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

You may be given any of the following:

  • Antiarrhythmia medicines help keep your heartbeat in a regular rhythm.
  • Beta blockers help slow your heartbeat and keep it in a regular rhythm.
  • Calcium channel blockers help slow your heartbeat.
  • Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Clots can lead to stroke, heart attack, and death. Aspirin is a type of blood thinner. You may need to take an aspirin each day to help prevent blood clots. Do not take acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead. Do not take more or less aspirin than healthcare providers say to take. If you are on other blood thinner medicine, ask your healthcare provider before you take aspirin for any reason.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or cardiologist as directed:

You may need more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Prevention and Management:

  • Decrease the amount of caffeine you drink. Caffeine can increase your heart rate.
  • Limit or do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can increase your heart rate. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe for you to drink alcohol. Also ask how much is safe for you to drink.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes can cause damage to your heart. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Do not use illegal drugs. Drugs such as meth and cocaine can increase your heart rate. Talk to your healthcare provider if you use illegal drugs and need help to quit.
  • Get more rest. Fatigue can cause your heart rate to increase.
  • Learn ways to cope with stress. Stress, fear, and anxiety can cause a fast heart rate. Your healthcare provider may recommend relaxation techniques and deep breathing exercises. Your healthcare provider may recommend you talk to someone about your stress or anxiety, such as a counselor or a trusted friend.

Check your pulse as directed:

Your healthcare provider will show you how to check your pulse, and how often to check it. Write down how fast your pulse is and if it feels regular or like it is skipping beats. Also write down the activity you were doing if your heart rate is above 100. Bring the information with you to your follow-up appointment.


© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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