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Atrial Tachycardia

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

What is atrial tachycardia?

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.

What increases my risk of atrial tachycardia?

Any of the following can increase your 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

What are the signs and symptoms of atrial tachycardia?

Atrial tachycardia may happen without other symptoms. You may feel any of the following:

  • Lightheaded, dizzy, or faint
  • Jumping or fluttering in your chest
  • New or increased shortness of breath
  • Pain, pressure, or tightness in your chest

How is atrial tachycardia treated?

You may need treatment if your atrial tachycardia continues or comes and goes. You may need medicine, procedures, or surgery. Your healthcare provider may send you to a cardiologist for other tests.

How can I prevent or manage my atrial tachycardia?

  • 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.

How do I check my heart rate?

Your healthcare provider will show you how to check your heart rate (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.


When should I call or have someone else call 911?

  • 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.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© 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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