Ventricular Tachycardia in Children

Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is an arrhythmia that causes the bottom chambers of the heart (ventricles) to beat faster and independent from the top chambers.

VT is defined as 3 consecutive abnormal ventricular beats. Sustained (long runs) can be life threatening in patients with or without structural heart disease. When in this rhythm, your cardiac output is compromised and can cause decrease oxygenated blood flow to the brain and body.

Other important descriptions of ventricular tachycardia that may be discussed by your electrophysiologist encompass monomorphic ventricular tachycardia, and polymorphic ventricular tachycardia. The rate of the ventricular tachycardia is also important to help identify the risk level of the arrhythmia.

This rhythm can occur in children with normal heart structure and those with congenital heart disease. Learn more about arrhythmias and congenital heart disease.

Signs and Symptoms

Patients are often asymptomatic when they experience slow non sustained runs of ventricular tachycardia.

Other forms such as sustained, rapid, or polymorphic ventricular tachycardia are often associated with:

  • palpitations
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • syncope (fainting)
  • cardiac arrest

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made through cardiac rhythm testing and can include ECG, Holter monitor, event monitor, exercise stress test, implantable loop recorder, or an electrophysiology study (EPS).

Treatment

Treatment options may include:

Your cardiologist will discuss the treatment options with you.

Lifestyle Changes

Activity restrictions will be based upon the cause and the treatment of the ventricular tachycardia. Your healthcare team will help guide you in the decision-making process. Even if there are some restrictions, it will be important to discuss the activities that are safe and appropriate for the patient, and to focus on what can be done.