Treatment depends on the symptoms, and the type of heart disorder. Some people may not need treatment.
If ventricular tachycardia becomes an emergency situation, it may require:
- Electrical defibrillation or cardioversion (electric shock)
- Anti-arrhythmic medications (such as lidocaine, procainamide, sotalol, or amiodarone) given through a vein
Oral anti-arrhythmic medications (such as procainamide, amiodarone, or sotalol) may be needed for long-term treatment of ventricular tachycardia. However, these drugs may have severe side effects. They are being used less often as other treatments are developed.
Some ventricular tachycardias may be treated with a procedure to destroy the tissue that is causing the irregular heartbeat (ablation). Radiofrequency catheter ablation can cure certain tachycardias.
A treatment that is often used for chronic (long-term) ventricular tachycardias consists of implanting a device called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). The ICD is most often implanted in the chest, like a pacemaker. It is connected to the heart with wires.
The ICD is programmed to detect when an abnormal heartbeat is occurring. It then sends out an electric shock to stop it. The ICD may also be programmed to send a series of rapid beats to interrupt the ventricular tachycardia. You may need to take anti-arrhythmic drugs to prevent the ICD from repeatedly firing.