What Ventricular Tachycardia (Vtach) Looks Like on Your Watch ECG

Vtach ECG
Qaly Heart
Qaly is built by Stanford engineers and cardiologists, including Dr. Marco Perez, a Stanford Associate Professor of Medicine, Stanford Cardiac Electrophysiologist, and Co-PI of the Apple Heart Study.

Key Takeaways

  • Ventricular Tachycardia is a condition where the heart's electrical signals start in the ventricles instead of the sinus node, with a heartbeat that's faster than normal.
  • To identify Ventricular Tachycardia on your watch ECG, look for a heart rate over 100 bpm, wide QRS complexes greater than 120 milliseconds, and the absence of visible P waves. Vtach can be non-sustained (lasting less than 30 seconds) or sustained (lasting at least 30 seconds).
  • Short episodes of Non-Sustained Vtach might not present symptoms, but can signal underlying heart issues. Sustained Vtach can lead to serious complications like Ventricular Fibrillation (Vfib), which can result in sudden cardiac death. If you think you have Vtach, contact your healthcare provider immediately to rule out harmful underlying conditions.

Got other questions on Vtach? See the Qaly guides on Vtach:

Introduction

Hello, heart hero. In your quest to identify that irregular heart rhythm you just felt, you may have come across the terms Ventricular Tachycardia, Vtach, or VT. With your trusty watch ECG now in hand, you may be wondering, "What does Ventricular Tachycardia look like on my watch ECG?" In this guide, we'll help you see Ventricular Tachycardia on your watch ECG. Let's dive in.

What's Ventricular Tachycardia?

Before trying to identify Ventricular Tachycardia on your ECG, it's helpful to remind yourself what Ventricular Tachycardia actually is. (If you're confident in your Ventricular Tachycardia knowledge, though, skip on ahead to the next section for some visual examples of a Ventricular Tachycardia ECG).

To start, remember how your heart beats? It produces an electrical signal, which squeezes and unsqueezes your heart, which in turn pumps your blood to your lungs for oxygen and then out to the rest of your body.

Normally, your heart produces that electrical signal from your "sinus node" to generate a normal heartbeat. Sometimes, however, that electrical signal starts from somewhere else in your heart, where it isn't supposed to. In Ventricular Tachycardia, your heartbeats start in your ventricles, and your heart rate is fast at a rate of over 100 beats-per-minute (bpm).

So What Does Ventricular Tachycardia Look Like on My Watch ECG?

To identify Ventricular Tachycardia on your ECG, look for these tell-tale signs:

  • A heart rate over 100 bpm.
  • Wide QRS complexes, greater than 120 milliseconds.
  • P waves aren't visible.
  • Non-Sustained VT lasts less than 30 seconds, while Sustained VT lasts for at least 30 seconds.
  • Because VT is a faster-than-normal heartbeat, it's sometimes confused with Sinus Tachycardia. Here's an explainer guide on VT vs Sinus Tach.

For visual examples, take a look at Vtach seen on Qaly members' watch ECGs.

The ultimate VTach watch ECG guide, created with love by the team at Qaly ❤️ Find us on App Store or Play Store.
The ultimate Vtach watch ECG guide, created with love by the team at Qaly ❤️ Find us on App Store or Play Store.

Here's Sustained V-Tach caught on a Qaly member's Apple Watch ECG. Notice that the Apple Watch ECG app inconclusively flagged this as a High Heart Rate ECG.
Here's Sustained Vtach caught on a Qaly member's Apple Watch ECG. Notice that the Apple Watch ECG app inconclusively flagged this as a High Heart Rate ECG.

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Here's Non-Sustained V-Tach caught on a Qaly member's Apple Watch ECG. Notice here, too, that the Apple Watch ECG app inconclusively flagged this as a High Heart Rate ECG.
Here's Non-Sustained Vtach caught on a Qaly member's Apple Watch ECG. Notice here, too, that the Apple Watch ECG app inconclusively flagged this as a High Heart Rate ECG.

Here's another Sustained VT on a Qaly member's Apple Watch ECG. This ECG shows no visible P waves, has a wide QRS complex, and has a high heart rate over 100 bpm.
Here's another Sustained VT on a Qaly member's Apple Watch ECG. This ECG shows no visible P waves, has a wide QRS complex, and has a high heart rate over 100 bpm.

Is Ventricular Tachycardia a Cause for Concern?

Non-Sustained Vtach usually presents itself with no symptoms and isn't always an immediate cause of concern. However, it can be a sign of underlying conditions such as previous heart attacks, electrical heart disorders, heart failure, or other heart muscle abnormalities. It can also be an early warning sign of longer and more severe bouts of Vtach. On the other hand, Sustained Vtach can lead to another cardiac event called Ventricular Fibrillation or Vfib. In Vfib, the heart beats at an erratic rate of up to 300 bpm, and the heart can stop beating and lead to sudden cardiac death.

If you show signs of Vtach, please contact your health care provider immediately to rule out harmful underlying conditions.

Conclusion

Well, that just about wraps up our guide on what VT looks like on your watch ECG. We hope this could be of some help to you.

If you still need help interpreting your ECGs, don't worry, we understand how scary and confusing it can be to experience irregular heartbeats. That's why we created the Qaly app for you and for the hundreds of millions of people around the world who live with heart palpitations and abnormal heart rhythms. On the Qaly app, human experts will interpret your ECGs within minutes for clarity and peace of mind.

To get started with the Qaly app for free, grab the Qaly app from the App Store or Play Store today. If you have any more questions, or if you need our help in any other way, don't hesitate to reach out to us at support@qaly.co.

As always from the team at Qaly, stay heart healthy ❤️

Wondering if it's Ventricular Tachycardia? On the Qaly app, human experts will interpret your ECGs for Ventricular Tachycardia within minutes. Get started for free today.

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Wondering if it's Ventricular Tachycardia? On the Qaly app, human experts will interpret your ECGs for Ventricular Tachycardia within minutes. Get started for free today.

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