Ventricular Tachycardia

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V-tach can be hard to treat, but at UVA, we use the latest treatments to control and prevent V-tach with as few side effects as possible. 

Also known as vfib, it's a common but serious heart condition where the heart beats too fast and the ventricles can’t pump enough blood to the body. Patients with previously damaged hearts are more likely to have V-tach, though it sometimes affects people with healthy hearts. 

V-tach episodes may go unnoticed, but in some patients it can be severe and life threatening. In extreme cases, sudden death may occur.

Diagnosing Your V-Tach

For some patients, V-tach is a complication from heart disease or a heart attack, but sometimes healthy people with normal hearts may experience the condition.

Your doctor may test you for V-tach if you experience any symptoms. You might not notice symptoms, but they can include:

  • High heart rate
  • Racing or pounding heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skipping heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • ICD shock
  • Blackouts
  • Sudden death

Ways to Treat V-Tach

At UVA, we treat V-tach with the following options.

Medication

Medication can treat some forms of V-tach, but these powerful drugs can have serious side effects. Many of the treatments at UVA can accomplish similar goals in a safer and more comfortable manner. 

Catheter Ablation

The V-tach doctors at UVA are specialists in catheter ablation, a procedure in which a doctor inserts a catheter into the heart and uses it to burn or freeze (cryoablation) the area responsible for the abnormal heartbeat, usually inside of the heart chambers. We also provide epicardial ablation. 

ICDs

Treating V-tach successfully often also involves an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a small battery-operated device that monitors the heart’s rhythm and treats episodes of V-tach by delivering an electric shock.

Transplant

In cases where all of these treatments aren't effective, you may be a candidate for a heart transplant. At UVA, we've performed over 300 heart transplants, making us the top heart transplant center in Virginia.