Atrial tachycardia is a variation of supraventricular tachycardia, or an abnormal heart beat that starts in the atria of the heart. In a normal heart rhythm, the electric impulse begins with the sinus node in the right top chamber of the heart. When an individual has atrial tachycardia, the electric impulse fires over and over again outside of the sinus node. This results in the atria contraction rate increasing over 100 times per minute, because the impulses get stuck in a loop within the atria.
Information. Atrial tachycardia can be intermittent, chronic, or frequent, based on physical activity, illness, drug abuse, or pregnancy. At times there is a clear cut cause for atrial tachycardia and at other times it can be idiopathic, or no specific cause can be found. In order to diagnose atrial tachycardia, a portable ECG monitor may be used to continuously record heart activity, and or to record when triggered due to the detection of a irregular heart rhythm or a manual gesture from the patient. In complex cases a physician may need to perform a electrophysiological study of the heart. This is done internally with a catheter so the physician can narrow down the origination of the abnormal electrical impulses.