Diagnostic Workup for Tachycardia

If you experience tachycardia, otherwise known as a rapid heart rate, then your primary care doctor may refer you to a cardiologist. A cardiologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. After your cardiologist examines you, they may recommend further testing at a cardiac care center. Here are some diagnostic tests you may receive at the clinical cardiac care center, which will help your doctor uncover the reason for your tachycardia.

Holter Monitor

Your cardiologist may recommend that you wear a Holter monitor for an entire day. The technician will attach electrodes to your chest. These electrodes are attached to a small monitor. The monitor will be placed inside a small pouch that can be worn around your neck. Like an electrocardiogram, the monitor will pick up any abnormalities such as tachycardia or bradycardia, which is a very slow heart rate.

One form of tachycardia is sinus tachycardia means that while your heart may be beating faster than normal, the rhythm is normal. Sinus tachycardia can be caused by caffeine consumption, anxiety, anemia, and hyperthyroidism. Other types of tachycardia that your Holter monitor may pick up are atrial tachycardia, ventricular tachycardia, and supraventricular tachycardia. These types of tachycardia mean that in addition to a fast heart rate, the heart rhythm is also abnormal in some way.


An ultrasound of the heart and its surrounding structures is known as an echocardiogram. This non-invasive test will help your cardiologist determine the cause of your tachycardia by capturing images of your cardiovascular system.

An echocardiogram is a painless examination and it is also considered very safe because it does not expose you to ionizing radiation in the way that traditional x-rays do. Before your test begins, the technician will apply a special gel to your chest and then gently passes a transducer over various areas of your chest.

The echocardiogram uses soundwaves to capture the images, and in addition to helping your doctor diagnose the cause of your tachycardia, this diagnostic test can reveal congenital heart defects. Congenital heart defects refer to cardiac defects that you were born with.

If you have questions about Holter monitoring or the echocardiogram test, talk to your cardiologist. If your tests reveal abnormalities, your physician may pursue further testing such as a cardiac catheterization, which is also known as an angiogram. This is a more invasive test that can reveal blockages in your coronary arteries.