What Is Ventricular Tachycardia, What Causes It, And Is It Always Dangerous?

Question: What is ventricular tachycardia, what causes it, and is it always dangerous?

Answer :You know in general we separate two different groups of ventricular tachycardia. One of them is in patients that are younger and that have a healthy heart, they did not have any heart attacks, and in those patients frequently we can just treat them with medications and they respond very well to that.

If this does not help, a good other approach is to perform an ablation procedure. For this kind of tachycardia normally it is a certain area in the heart that functions like a spark plug in an engine. It just tries to start to make a fast heart rate. We can move a catheter to that point and cauterize the tissue, and with that all the ventricular tachycardia is gone.

Different from that is the other kind of tachycardia, the other kind of ventricular tachycardia, that occurs in patients that have had previous heart attacks or that have scar in the heart. An example, for example, is the Vice President Dick Cheney that had to have a defibrillator placed for this condition.

In this kind of ventricular tachycardia uses the scar inside the heart, and it's something like a circuit like a race course inside the heart, which electricity kind of races around. And these fast heart rates are very different. They are frequently life threatening, and we use combined treatment strategy many times when we need a defibrillator, an ICD to protect them and often the additionally we add on medications and also ablation procedures.