Signs and symptoms of paroxysmal atrial tachycardia, or PAT, include increased heart rate, dizziness, pain in the chest and lightheadedness, according to Healthline. Breathlessness may also indicate that a person has paroxysmal atrial tachycardia. Some people with PAT may experience no symptoms. In less common cases, PAT can cause loss of consciousness and cardiac arrest.
Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia is fast heartbeat that starts in the upper chambers of the heart, known as atria, as a result of irregular conduction of electrical signals, explains Healthline. The condition comes and goes suddenly. Adults with PAT experience at least 130 heartbeats per minute. Children who suffer from the condition have more than 220 beats per minute.
Risk factors include being female, drinking too much alcohol, high intake of caffeine, and anxiety, states Healthline. Inherited heart disease, a personal history of heart attacks and other heart complications may increase chances of developing PAT. An electrocardiogram test may help diagnose the condition.
Treatment may be necessary if symptoms persist, explains Healthline. Vagal maneuvers, such as exhaling with the nostrils closed, engaging in the diving reflex, and applying pressure to closed eyelids or the neck help, to slow down pulse rate. Cutting down on the intake of alcohol and caffeine, resting properly and taking prescription medications help to counter the problem as well. Exercising regularly, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet may help prevent the problem.