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Definition of Tachycardia, sinus

Tachycardia, sinus: A fast heartbeat (tachycardia) because of rapid firing of the sinoatrial (sinus) node.

The sinoatrial (or sinus) node is the natural pacemaker of the heart. It is located in the wall of the right atrium (the right upper chamber of the heart). Normal cardiac impulses start there and are transmitted to the atria and down to the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart).

Sinus tachycardia occurs in response to exercise, exertion, excitement, pain, fever, excessive thyroid hormone, low blood oxygen (hypoxia), stimulant drugs (such as caffeine and amphetamines), etc.

Although sinus tachycardia is usually a response to one or another fleeting stimulus, it can upon occasion be a sign of heart failure, heart valve disease, or another significant illness.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=9744
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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