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Sinus tachycardia

Leonard I Ganz, MD, FHRS, FACC
Section Editor
Brian Olshansky, MD
Deputy Editor
Brian C Downey, MD, FACC


Sinus tachycardia is a rhythm in which the rate of impulses arising from the sinoatrial (SA) node is elevated. The normal heart rate has been considered historically to range from 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm), with sinus tachycardia being defined as a sinus rhythm with a rate exceeding 100 bpm. However, the "normal" heart rate varies in part with age (table 1). The heart rate is usually between 110 and 150 bpm in infants, with gradual slowing over the next six years. The resting sinus rate in older children and adults is approximately 65 to 85 bpm, with some authors suggesting a slowing in older age [1-3]. (See "Normal sinus rhythm and sinus arrhythmia".)

The etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of sinus tachycardia, including inappropriate sinus tachycardia, will be reviewed here. Sinoatrial reentry supraventricular tachycardia that involves tissue from the SA node is discussed elsewhere. (See "Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and evaluation of narrow QRS complex tachycardias" and "Overview of the acute management of tachyarrhythmias".)


The most common causes of sinus tachycardia are the normal response to exercise and conditions in which catecholamine release is physiologically enhanced: flight, fright, anger, or stress. A long list of other factors may be responsible in selected cases including:




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Literature review current through: Mar 2015. | This topic last updated: Apr 14, 2014.
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