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Tachycardia is a common type of arrhythmia in which the heart beats faster than normal while at rest. There are many different types of abnormal tachycardia. Common types include:

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Atrial flutter
  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Ventricular fibrillation

Many things can cause tachycardia, including:

  • Damage to heart tissues from heart disease
  • Abnormal electrical pathways in the heart present at birth
  • Disease or congenital abnormality of the heart
  • Anemia
  • Exercise
  • Sudden stress, such as fright
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Fever
  • Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
  • Medication side effects
  • Abuse of recreational drugs, such as cocaine
  • Imbalance of electrolytes
  • Hyperthyroidism

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of tachycardia may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Rapid pulse rate
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Syncope


To diagnose tachycardia, a Deborah Specialty Physician may perform tests specific to arrhythmia, including:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Holter monitor
  • Event monitor
  • Echocardiogram
  • Implantable loop recorder