Difference Between AFIB and Tachycardia (With Table)

Arrhythmia is a condition wherein one experiences irregular heartbeats. They may be either too fast or too slow. Some form of these irregularities is common during physical activities or stress. But sometimes it can be a serious problem too. AFIB and Tachycardia are two forms of arrhythmia that cause the heartbeat to increase.

AFIB vs Tachycardia

The main difference between AFIB and Tachycardia is that AFIB is an irregular heart rhythm that leads to blood clots in the heart whereas Tachycardia is defined as a heart rate of over 100 a minute. There are various types of Tachycardia depending upon the region of the heart that is responsible. AFIB is one of them.

AFIB is a form of the arrhythmic condition that increases the heart rate of a person. Also known as Atrial Fibrillation, it is considered to be a serious problem that may lead to stroke or heart failure. It may not be life-threatening but requires proper treatment. During AFIB, the atria and ventricles are not in sync which causes the pounding of the heart.

Tachycardia is a condition that intensifies the heartbeat of a person above 100 beats per minute. It is not a matter of concern, as the heart rate generally rises during physical activities. The symptoms are usually mild but some forms of Tachycardia may need supervision. Treatment varies from medication to surgery depending upon the severity of the condition.

Comparison Table Between AFIB and Tachycardia

Parameters of ComparisonAFIBTachycardia
DefinitionIt refers to an uneven heartbeat caused by the upper chambers of the heart.This refers to an irregular heart rate of over 100 beats per minute.
SymptomsThe symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, reduced ability to exercise, and weakness.The symptoms include pounding of the heart, lightheadedness, rapid pulse, and shortness of breath.
CausesSome probable causes include blood pressure and lung problems, physical stress, etc.Probable causes may include fever, high caffeine consumption, reduced volumes of RBCs, etc.
Risk factorsAge, heart diseases, or other chronic health problems increases the risk of AFIB.Age and an unhealthy lifestyle usually increase the risk of Tachycardia.
SeverityIt is a severe condition.It is generally not a severe condition.

What is AFIB?

AFIB or Atrial Fibrillation is the condition of increased heartbeat that may lead to clotting of blood in the heart. The severity of this condition differs from person to person. The discrepancy between the heart’s upper and lower chambers, namely the atria and ventricles respectively, is what causes atrial fibrillation.

AFIB is moderately common. Its symptoms include pounding heart rate, chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and weakness. Although some people having AFIB may not experience all of these symptoms.

The episodes of AFIB may persist or come and go. Depending upon the time frame they can be classified further. Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation usually lasts for a few minutes to hours. The symptoms usually come and go without the help of any medication. In persistent AFIB the heart rate does not go back to normal on its own. Cardioversion or treatment is generally required.

The most common cause of Atrial Fibrillation is a defect in the heart structure. Other causes may include coronary artery disease, sick sinus syndrome, heart valve problems, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, etc. The risk of AFIB increases with age and other chronic problems. Therefore, proper treatment and care are advised.

The result of AFIB is usually a blood clot in the heart which is a risky complication. The chaotic rhythm in the atria causes blood to collect. If it breaks free and travels to the brain, it may lead to severe strokes.

What is Tachycardia?

Tachycardia, a mild form of arrhythmia, is a medical condition where the heartbeat goes over 100 beats per minute (normal heartbeat being seventy to eighty per minute). The type of tachycardiac condition varies with the part of the heart responsible for such uneven rhythm.

The various types of Tachycardia are Atrial Fibrillation, Atrial Flutter, Ventricular Tachycardia, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Ventricular Fibrillation. While the first two types are caused by the upper chambers of the heart (the atria), the other types are caused by irregularities in the ventricles or the lower chambers of the heart.

This being a mild condition has very common symptoms. They include pounding of the heart, shortness of breath, rapid pulse rate, etc. Some of the more serious symptoms include fainting or lightheadedness. Having a family history of heart conditions can increase the risk of Tachycardia.

The causes of tachycardia can be anything, be it physical activity, high level of caffeine consumption, or fever. It also can be caused because of stress. Due to the common nature of its causes, it is considered to be a minor disorder.  

Main Differences Between AFIB and Tachycardia

  1. AFIB is an irregularity in the heart rate that leads to blood clots. On the other hand, Tachycardia results in a heartbeat going above 100 beats per minute.
  2. The severity of AFIB is more than that of tachycardia. The former may lead to blood clots that result in strokes. Whereas, the latter has a minor risk factor.
  3. AFIC causes are high blood pressure, lung diseases, or other heart diseases. Whereas tachycardia has trivial causes such as increased caffeine consumption, exercise, or stress.
  4. For AIFB age and other heart conditions are the risk components. Whereas, for Tachycardia age and unhealthy lifestyle are the main risk factors.
  5. Severe cases of AFIB may need surgery or cardioversion. While tachycardia may be treated using medications and, in some cases, surgery.

Conclusion

We all have experienced unstable heartbeats at one point in our lives. During physical exercise, fatigue, or stress arrhythmia is not uncommon. But the extent of irregularity may vary from person to person. Depending upon the area of the heart that is affected arrhythmia is classified into different varieties.

Atrial Fibrillation and Tachycardia are examples of arrhythmias. They both cause a surge in heart rates. The upper two chambers of the heart are responsible for causing AFIB. Whereas both the upper and lower chambers can cause Tachycardia.

These types of conditions are easily preventable and curable. Eating healthy, medication, surgery, and cardioversion are some of the preventive measures.

References

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atrial-fibrillation/symptoms-causes/syc-20350624#:~:text=Atrial%20fibrillation%20(A%2Dfib),and%20other%20heart%2Drelated%20complications.
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tachycardia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355127#:~:text=Tachycardia+(tak%2Dih%2DKAHR,as+a+response+to+stress.