Sinus Tachycardia

Sinus tachycardia is a common condition that happens sometimes in response to stressful situations. Your heart beats more than 100 times per minute, but usually returns to normal after the stressful event has passed. If your symptoms continue when your body is at rest, it’s a good idea to see your healthcare provider.


What is sinus tachycardia?

When you have tachycardia, your heart rate is faster than 100 beats per minute. With sinus tachycardia, electrical signals from your heart’s sinoatrial (SA) node are telling your heart to beat faster than normal. This is a common condition that is usually a result of stressors like fear, exercise or not drinking enough fluids.

What is inappropriate sinus tachycardia?

If the cause of your sinus tachycardia is unknown, it’s called inappropriate sinus tachycardia. You still have more than 100 heartbeats per minute, but there is nothing unusual on your ECG (electrocardiogram). Usually, women and people assigned female at birth in their 30s tend to get this type of sinus tachycardia. The problem is not serious.

Your ECG (electrocardiogram) can help your healthcare provider tell the difference between sinus tachycardia and other types of tachycardia. Some of these are:

  • SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) has similar symptoms but is usually caused by things you can control.
  • Sinus tachycardia with PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) and sinus tachycardia with PACs (premature atrial contractions) can give you a feeling of a racing or pounding heart (palpitations). However, these extra heartbeats are normally not a cause for concern.
  • Ventricular tachycardia can be dangerous and may require CPR when the person is having chest pain and trouble breathing.


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Who does sinus tachycardia affect?

Anyone can get sinus tachycardia. It’s a normal response to something that’s causing you stress.

Symptoms and Causes

What causes sinus tachycardia?

With sinus tachycardia, your body reacts to something stressful that’s happening, such as:

  • Fear.
  • Nervousness.
  • Fever.
  • Intense exercise.
  • Certain drugs.
  • Dehydration.

While sinus tachycardia is considered a normal response to these situations, it’s not normal when your body is at rest. Other causes that aren’t as common include:

If your healthcare provider rules out these causes, they may decide that you have inappropriate sinus tachycardia.

Many people don’t have symptoms of sinus tachycardia. If they do have symptoms, they often don’t last long. Your symptoms may include:

The symptoms of inappropriate sinus tachycardia include:


Diagnosis and Tests

How is sinus tachycardia diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider can diagnose inappropriate sinus tachycardia by ruling out other causes of sinus tachycardia.

Management and Treatment

What is the treatment for sinus tachycardia?

Your healthcare provider will focus on treating the cause of your sinus tachycardia. If stress or strenuous exercise was the cause, stopping them can solve the problem. If a different medical problem (such as dehydration or anemia) brought on the sinus tachycardia, your provider will treat that.

For inappropriate sinus tachycardia, treatments may include:


What are the side effects of treatment for inappropriate sinus tachycardia?

Any medication can have side effects. Often, the benefits outweigh the risks. Catheter ablation has a small risk of major complications.

How can I manage my sinus tachycardia symptoms?

If you have symptoms, they often go away quickly. Lying down and taking deep breaths can help with feeling lightheaded or dizzy.


How can I prevent sinus tachycardia?

Unfortunately, some of the causes of sinus tachycardia are out of your control. However, you can prevent some of the causes by staying calm, healthy and hydrated.

Other lifestyle changes include:

  • Reducing caffeine intake.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Quitting smoking and using tobacco products.
  • Consuming less sodium.

Outlook / Prognosis

What is the prognosis for sinus tachycardia?

Although some types of tachycardia may lead to cardiomyopathy, sinus tachycardia usually does not. Since sinus tachycardia is a normal reaction to a stressful situation, the outlook for people with sinus tachycardia is good. Once you’re out of the temporary situation that’s causing you stress, your heart rate goes back to normal.

Living With

How do I take care of myself with sinus tachycardia?

Although some stressful things in life are out of your control, the best way to protect yourself from sinus tachycardia is to be healthy and calm and drink enough fluids.

What if I get sinus tachycardia when I’m pregnant?

It’s not unusual to have palpitations when you’re pregnant. Most of the time, these aren’t dangerous. If your healthcare provider is concerned, they may give you an ECG. There are medicines that are safe for you to take during pregnancy if needed.

When should I seek care for sinus tachycardia?

If you’ve been through a stressful situation or strenuous exercise just before your symptoms started, your symptoms will most likely pass quickly without treatment. However, if you have other health problems or the symptoms don’t go away when your body is at rest, you should contact your provider.

While sinus tachycardia is usually not a cause for worry, there are other problems that cause a fast heartbeat. Some of these other tachycardias are more serious, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t have those.

What questions should I ask my doctor about sinus tachycardia?

  • What’s causing my sinus tachycardia?
  • Are my symptoms a sign of something more serious?
  • Do I need a follow-up appointment?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Sinus tachycardia is one type of fast heartbeat. It’s a common reaction to things like stress, intense exercise or dehydration. Symptoms usually go away on their own once the stressful situation has passed. If symptoms stick around when your body is at rest, it’s time to contact your healthcare provider. Sinus tachycardia isn’t usually a cause for concern, but other kinds of tachycardia can be more dangerous. You’ll want to be sure that your provider can rule those other kinds out.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 06/05/2022.

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