Tachycardia (Fast Heartbeat)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Find answers to your questions about cardiac arrhythmias.

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Our Patient’s Guide to Understanding Atrial Fibrillation can help you learn about the causes, diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation.

What Is Tachychardia, or Fast Heartbeat? 

Tachycardia is a heartbeat above 100 beats per minute (BPN). In most healthy people, the heart’s fluid-pumping action result in a normal heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute (BPM). Sometimes a rate above 100 beats is normal. For example, when you exercise, your body needs more oxygen than when you are at rest. Your heart meets this demand by increasing the rate at which it pumps oxygen-rich blood to the body.

Other times, a heartbeat greater than 100 beats a minute is abnormal and is the result of a problem with the heart or the irregular electrical signals in the heart. If you have a fast heart rate, it could be caused by a type of tachycardia. 

There are several types of tachycardia. They are classified by the part of the heart in which they originate.

Tachycardias originating in the atria (the upper chambers of the heart) are:

  • Atrial flutter
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Supraventricular tachycardia

Tachycardias originating in the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart) are: 

  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Ventricular fibrillation

Learn about common treatments for tachycardias.


1. Go, A. S., Hylek, E. M., Phillips, K. A., Chang, Y., Henault, L. E., Selby, J. V., & Singer, D. E. (2001). Prevalence of diagnosed atrial fibrillation in adults. National implications for rhythm management and stroke prevention: the anticoagulation and risk factors in atrial fibrillation (ATRIA) study. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285, 2370-2375. http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.285.18.2370