What is Sinus Tachycardia?
Sinus Tachycardia is a condition that occurs when the heart beats faster than the normal human heart rate. The normal human heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute. In some cases, it doesn’t affect the person especially when it occurs as a result of exercises. Sinus Tachycardia is therefore the increase of the heart rhythm (above 100bpm) from the sinus node. It can increase the chances of stroke for a person. It can lead to heart attack and even death. Normally increase in safe decreases the rate of the heart for example for children the normal heart rate is 110-150bpm and in adults 60-100bpm.
There are several causes of sinus tachycardia and they include stress, infection, blood loss, anxiety hyperthyroidism, alcohol, drugs, electric shock, dehydration, stimulants like cocaine, caffeine, nicotine, etc. Generally activities that increase the demand for oxygen by the body can lead to sinus tachycardia. Drugs like beta-agonists for example dobutamine can increase a person’s heart rate.
Based the causes of sinus tachycardia, it can be classified into two and they are appropriate sinus tachycardia and inappropriate sinus tachycardia. Appropriate sinus tachycardia may not be as severe as inappropriate sinus tachycardia. The causes of appropriate sinus tachycardia include drugs, anxiety, exercise, anger, caffeine, alcohol etc.
Inappropriate sinus tachycardia is also known as chronic nonparoxysmal sinus tachycardia. It is very uncommon and occurs when the body exaggerates the heart’s response to physical activities. Causes of inappropriate sinus tachycardia include bleeding, inadequate supply of oxygen to the blood vessels (hypoxia), abnormally low blood pressure (hypotension), fever, congestive heart failure, inflammation of the myocardium found in the heart (myocarditis), a failure of the autonomic nervous system (dysautonomia) and so on.
Some generally inappropriate sinus tachycardiasymptoms are shortness of breath (SOB), dizziness, rapid pulse rate, chest pain. The patient may also feel lightheaded, heartbeat may be irregular, uncomfortable and very fast (heart palpitation). It can lead to unconsciousness. In severe cases it leads to cardiac, arrest stroke and even death. When these symptoms are noticed, an electrocardiogram test is required.
Sinus tachycardia on ECG or EKG shows a heart rate greater than 100bpm, regular rhythm, a constant, upright and normal p-waves and a P-R interval between 0.12-0.2.
Sinus tachycardia treatment
Treatment of sinus tachycardia involves the use of medication for example Beta blockers can be used to reduce the heart rate. Calcium blockers can also be used. Salt intake can also be increased by the patient but only if advised by a doctor. Sinus tachycardia treatment sometimes may involve sinus node ablation which is used to control the activities of the sinus node. In some cases, artificial pacemaker implantation may be required.
Sinus Tachycardia vs SVT- sinus tachycardia should not be confused with sinus ventricular tachycardia (SVT). Sinus tachycardia is the normal increase in heart rate of a person above 100bpm. In the case of sinus tachycardia, the blood flow is not usually disrupted. While SVT is the abnormal increase in the heart rate above 100bpm sometimes getting to 300bpm. In this case, the blood flow is interrupted. An ecg/ekg or a holter/event monitor can be used to diagnose this ailment.