Some people with tachycardia might not experience any symptoms, but for others the rapid heartbeats can lead to the body not getting enough blood flow and oxygen and the following symptoms can occur:
Your doctor may order a series of tests to find out what is causing your tachycardia. Testing could include an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), an electrophysiological test, or a tilt table test. These tests can help your doctor determine why you are having faster than normal heartbeats.
For an electrocardiogram, your doctor will put small electrical sensors on your chest and arms. The recorded electrical signals will help identify patterns that could indicate what type of tachycardia you have. Before the test, talk to your physician about any medications you are taking and remove all of your jewelry. An ECG/EKG can be done in a physician’s office, a clinic, or hospital. Men will have to remove their shirt and women may be asked to wear a gown. The areas where the electrodes are attached will need to be clean and may need to be shaved to adhere properly. The test takes five to 10 minutes and will require you to lie still, not talk, and breathe normally.
Holter Monitor: You might be given a portable ECG/EKG device–a Holter monitor–to record your heart activity for a 24-hour period while you are at home.
Event Recorder: An Event Recorder is another portable ECG/EKG device that can monitor your heartbeats for longer periods of time: a few weeks or months. The Event Recorder lets you push a button when you begin feeling symptoms. The readings will help your doctor find out what is happening before, during, and after the episode.
Insertable Cardiac Monitor: There are event recorders that can be inserted just under the skin of your chest and will monitor your heart’s activity continuously for months or even years. The device will be triggered by any irregular heart activity.
If you have experienced fainting, your doctor might ask you to have a tilt table test. For this test you’ll have to lie flat on a table with straps to hold you firmly in place. After 15 minutes, the table will be tilted to an upright position similar to standing. You’ll stay in that position for about 45 minutes. Tilting the table will help your doctor see any changes in your heart rate or blood pressure.