Multifocal atrial tachycardia

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Multifocal atrial tachycardia
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Multifocal atrial tachycardia

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor-In-Chief: Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [2]

Synonyms and keywords: MAT

Overview

Multifocal atrial tachycardia is a cardiac arrhythmia, specifically a type of supraventricular tachycardia. It is characterized by an electrocardiogram (ECG) strip with 3 or more P-waves of variable morphology and varying P-R intervals, plus tachycardia, which is a heart rate exceeding 100 beats per minute.

The P-waves and P-R intervals are variable due to a phenomenon called wandering atrial pacemaker (WAP). The electrical impulse is generated at a different focus within the atria of the heart each time. WAP is positive once the heart generates at least three different P-wave formations from the same ECG lead. Then, if the heart rate exceeds 100 beats per minute, the phenomenon is called multifocal atrial tachycardia. It is mostly common in patients with lung disorders, but it can be occur after acute MI, hypokalemia, and hypomagnesemia. It is sometimes associated with digitalis toxicity in patients with heart disease. Its rate can be reduced by administering verapamil.

Causes

Multifocal atrial tachycardia usually results from an underlying medical condition such as COPD, chronic renal failure, pulmonary embolism, electrolyte imbalance, and many other conditions.

Life Threatening Causes

Life-threatening causes include conditions which may result in death or permanent disability within 24 hours if left untreated.

Common Causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, valvular heart disease
Chemical/Poisoning No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect Aminophylline, isoproterenol, theophylline
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine Diabetes mellitus
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic No underlying causes
Genetic No underlying causes
Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic Postoperative complication
Infectious Disease Pneumonia, sepsis
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic No underlying causes
Neurologic No underlying causes
Nutritional/Metabolic No underlying causes
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic Lung cancer
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity Aminophylline
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypoxia, lung cancer, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism
Renal/Electrolyte Chronic renal failure, hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy No underlying causes
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma No underlying causes
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous No underlying causes

Causes in Alphabetical Order

Diagnosis

Electrocardiography

References

Additional resources

Examples

Multifocal Atrial Tachycardia (MAT)


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