VT beats

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Submitted by Dr T on September 7, 2012 – 5:00pm

I recently wore a holt monitor for 2 weeks and it showed a 4 and a 17 beat run of VT. In the past I had significant VT runs before heart surgery 8 years ago and they did an EP study and I was fine – they could not get the VT going so I did not need a defib. But now it’s 8 years later and the monitor showed a run of 4 beats and 17 beats. I think the 4 beat one is normal but what about a 17 beat one??????? Is that really serious.THANK YOU.Sue

Hi Sue,
It certainly warrants re-evaluation with an (stress) echo and other tests. Arrhythmias may be caused by many different factors, including:

  • Coronary artery disease.
  • Electrolyte imbalances in your blood (such as sodium or potassium).
  • Changes in your heart muscle.
  • Injury from a heart attack.
  • Healing process after heart surgery.

Irregular heart rhythms can also occur in “normal, healthy” hearts. Whether your  Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is associated with your heart surgery I can’t tell and it is too early to know whether you need another EP study or what treatment may be needed. As you may know, an electrophysiology (EP) study is a test that records the electrical activity and the electrical pathways of the heart. This test is used to help determine the cause of heart rhythm disturbance and the best treatment. During the EP study, abnormal heart rhythm will be tested with different medications to see which one controls it best or to determine whether a cardioverter/defibrillator(ICD) is needed.

You may need an EP study for further evaluation if your VT is considered a sreious risk:

  • To determine the cause
  • To locate the anatomic location
  • To decide the best treatment.

Hope this helps,
Dr T

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