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Sinus tachycardia

Tachycardia is defined as an increase in the heart rate above one hundred beats per minute.

The sinus tachycardia is so called because it originates in the sinoatrial which is the main pacemaker of the heart.
It is rarely greater than two hundred beats per minute and is not an arrhythmia as such, since it occurs as a physiological response to various types of stress , so it is not considered a disease.

It is very common since there are many possible causes and it appears in anyone since it is not necessary for its development to have alterations in the heart.

Why is it produced?

Sinus tachycardia is an adequate response of the heart to various types of stress suffered by the body and that increase the demand for oxygen.

To respond to this increase in needs, the heart responds by increasing its frequency above the limits considered normal. The main causes are:

  • Fever
  • Anemia (decreased number of red blood cells
  • Anxiety
  • Physical exercise
  • Hypotension
  • Hypoxemia (low level of oxygen in the blood), usually secondary to respiratory failure due to asthmatic attacks, exacerbations of chronic bronchitis, pulmonary embolism, lung edema, as the most frequent causes.
  • Thyrotoxicosis (Thyroid hyperfunction).
  • Heart failure
  • Reduction in circulating blood volume (usually secondary to bleeding).

The heart has cells capable of producing a constant and adequate rhythm for its functioning. These cells are mainly grouped in three places, some are in the sinus node located in the wall of the left atrium, others in the atrioventricular node located between the atria and both ventricles, and the last in the bundle of Hiss that runs through the interventricular septum.

All these cells constitute the heart’s conduction system. The sinus node produces the necessary impulse that is transmitted to the atrioventricular node, from here to the Hiss bundle that transmits it to the rest of the ventricle so that it contracts. The sinus node is called the pacemaker of the heart because it generates the pulse at a rate between 60 and 80 beats per minute. If this does not work, the rest of the driving system takes over in generating the impulse, although at a lower frequency. The conduction system receives information from the nervous system through the autonomic nervous system that is responsible for controlling the functioning of the viscera, in order to adapt to the requirements of the body, however it is capable of functioning autonomously, without receiving any data.

When there is a state that increases oxygen requirements and therefore blood, the autonomic nervous system sends this information to the sinus node, which increases its frequency to respond to the demands, thus generating sinus tachycardia. This tachycardia is never due to alterations in the functioning of the cardiac conduction system.

You may also be interested in:   Mitral Regurgitation

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Sinus Tachycardia

The characteristic thing is that it does not cause any symptoms except palpitations or the sensation of having a fast heart rate. To this must be added all the symptoms of the processes that produce it, so agitation, nervousness, dyspnea, sweating, feeling dizzy, and so on can appear.

In the first place, for the diagnosis of tachycardia, it is enough to take the heart rate either by auscultating, or by measuring the pulse.

Once the patient’s heart rate is known to establish the exact diagnosis, an electrocardiogram should be done since there are other conduction system alterations that have nothing to do with it and that also cause tachycardia.

The electrocardiogram is characterized by presenting sinus contour P waves preceding each QRS complex with a regular rhythm above 100 beats per minute.

In addition, this tachycardia differs from others because it has a gradual onset and a gradual termination, it never ceases abruptly as it does with other supraventricular tachycardias, and the pressure on the carotid sinus produces a moderate decrease in heart rate, with a gradual return to heart rate. previous frequency.

Treatment of sinus tachycardia

Sinus tachycardia should not be treated like any other arrhythmia, since it always constitutes a physiological response to a demand on heart function.

Treatment must be aimed at the cause that produces it.

If there is heart failure, it should be treated with diuretics, digitalis, ACE inhibitors and oxygen.

Respiratory failure requires oxygen, the loss of volume of intravenous fluids, fever from treatment for its cause in addition to antipyretics, anxiety requires the use of anxiolytics such as benzodiazepines , finally hyperthyroidism requires antithyroid drugs and sometimes even control of the TSH beta blocker figures.

How can I avoid it?

As it is an organism response, there is nothing we can do to avoid it, except to carry out an adequate treatment for each cause.

If it is due to a state of nervousness, staying calm through psychotherapy techniques or using relaxation techniques can avoid the use of tranquilizers.

The alterations that produce this tachycardia all require an assessment by a doctor who decides the appropriate treatment for each one, since tachycardia is not in itself important but rather prompt treatment of the cause, because some of them can become very serious .

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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