Relationship between bronchial asthma and tachycardia, risk of complications and treatment

Asthma and tachycardia are different diseases, but they are often interrelated. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory process in the airways, as a result of which the bronchi are narrowed, mucus begins to be actively produced. As a result of bronchial obstruction, the supply of oxygen to organs and tissues is disrupted.

Arrhythmia is stated when the heart rate becomes more frequent and exceeds 100 beats / min (beats per minute). A healthy person almost does not feel the work of his heart.

His heart rate is about 60-80 beats / min. However, with arrhythmia, pulsation of the vessels in the neck region is even noticeable. In case of heart problems, his beats are palpable, they are too strong and distinct.

In patients with bronchial asthma, arrhythmia occurs due to bronchial obstruction.

Heart rhythm disorders in asthma patients

People who have asthma are often diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. The load on the right ventricle of the heart increases, and this leads to its hypertrophy. One of the reasons for this is the lack of oxygen in the body.

The pulse of a patient with bronchial asthma increases during an attack. It sometimes reaches 140–160 bpm. Although it is known that even with a number of beats per minute of about 100, tachycardia is diagnosed.

The link between tachycardia and asthma

In patients suffering from bronchial asthma, there is a rapid heart rate. There is a relationship between both of these phenomena. Obstruction of the airways leads to tachycardia, the use of beta2-adrenomimetics in asthmatic pathology.

Arrhythmia is explained by the fact that the heart muscles are trying to compensate for the oxygen deficiency in the body, contracting vigorously. A patient with bronchial asthma even feels the beating of his heart. He complains of malaise, lethargy, weakness, lack of air.

Tachycardia in asthma is a common phenomenon. Changes in heart rate are facilitated by pathological disorders in the cardiovascular and respiratory system. The danger of arrhythmia in asthmatics is also that at the time of suffocation, various complications may develop.

Symptoms of tachycardia in asthma

With arrhythmias caused by an attack of bronchial asthma, the heart beats very quickly. Tachycardia is diagnosed when the heartbeat is more than 100 beats / min. In severe cases, this figure is 200 beats / min. 

This abnormal muscle contraction wears out the heart too much. An asthmatic person is dizzy, tinnitus is heard, and it darkens before the eyes. He complains of pain in the region of the heart, weakness, and may even faint.

Signs of bronchial asthma, accompanied by tachycardia:

  • strong heartbeat;
  • inability to breathe deeply;
  • dyspnea;
  • asthma attacks;
  • wheezing;
  • respiratory failure;
  • chest pain;
  • general malaise;
  • pale skin;
  • bluish skin color near the mouth and nose and on the fingertips;
  • lethargy.

The human respiratory system is somewhat reminiscent of a tree. Air first enters the trachea, then into the large and small bronchi (bronchioles), and then into the alveoli. From the latter, oxygen is absorbed into the blood.

However, with asthma, inflammatory processes occur in the respiratory organs, leading to a narrowing of the bronchi. Too much mucus is secreted into their lumen. Because of this, a person constantly feels a lack of air. The unpleasant sensations grow and decrease. Choking attacks usually occur at night.

Resistance to airflow from obstruction increases with expiration. However, asthmatics usually complain of having difficulty breathing in. Patients have a cough, which usually disappears after taking bronchodilators . The appearance of sputum at the time of a coughing attack foreshadows its end.

Possible complications

Asthma causes inflammation, swelling and mucus blockage of the bronchi. Such processes lead to obstructed flow of air into the lungs. The oxygen concentration in the blood of an asthmatic person decreases. Oxygen starvation sets in.

With a limited supply of oxygen to the circulatory system, the heart muscle works more often, one might say, for wear. The pathology of the respiratory system leads to the development of heart failure (right ventricular). The likelihood of cardiac arrest at the time of an asthma attack increases, which is the cause of sudden death.

Asthma complicated by arrhythmia, if improperly treated, can cause pneumonia, prolonged asthmatic attack, lung collapse, acute respiratory failure, pneumothorax. These serious disorders develop to a greater extent due to the underlying disease, however, tachycardia aggravates the general condition of the person.

Diagnosis of tachycardia in asthma

Diagnostic methods:

  1. Collection of anamnesis, detailed questioning about health, lifestyle, human activities.
  2. Allergic test to identify allergens that trigger an asthma attack. 
  3. Complete blood count (the level of leukocytes, eosinophils rises, ESR rises).
  4. Examination of sputum for the presence of Kurshman spirals , eosinophils, neutrophils in it.
  5. Electrocardiography to determine the rhythm of the heart.
  6. Spirography to study the respiratory volume of the lungs.
  7. Chest x-ray.
  8. CT and MRI.

Treatment of tachycardia in asthmatics

The difficulty in treating tachycardia in asthma is that drugs that are effective in the treatment of one of these diseases are contraindicated in the other. So, in case of violation of the heart, β- blockers are used , which cannot be used for asthmatics. If they are replaced with slow calcium channel blockers or sinus node blockers, the desired result is not always achieved. The prescription of antiplatelet agents can also lead to an exacerbation of asthmatic disease .

Glucocorticosteroids used to treat asthmatics can impair heart function . The use of theophyllines in the complex therapy of asthma can lead to arrhythmias. The heart rate also increases with the use of methylxanthines .

Treatment of arrhythmia in asthmatics is carried out with the help of two types of drugs: sedatives (with a sedative effect) and antiarrhythmic drugs . Sedatives can be natural or synthetic. All of them affect the nervous system and regulate the work of the heart.

Natural medicines are prescribed for people with asthma. For example, hawthorn tincture reduces heart rate, calms the nervous system. Valerian dilates blood vessels, slows down the activity of the heart. Improves the condition and normalizes the pulse of motherwort, peony.

Antiarrhythmic drugs

Antiarrhythmic drugs lower blood pressure and heart rate. They restore sinus rhythm, reduce the contractile activity of the heart muscle, as well as myocardial oxygen demand.

When treating arrhythmias in people with asthma, it is important to transfer the underlying disease from the exacerbation stage to the remission stage. It is necessary to improve the activity of the heart with the help of oxygen therapy and taking a number of medications – beta-blockers, inhibitors of If- channels of the sinus node, herbal pharmaceuticals (valerian, hawthorn, motherwort).

When using inhibitors of the If- channels of the sinus node, the duration and severity of tachycardia decreases. It is possible to correct the heart rate and significantly improve the hemodynamics of the lungs.

When treating an asthmatic attack in the presence of arrhythmia, one should not only relieve bronchospasm, but also suppress the inflammatory process in the bronchi. To restore bronchial patency, you can use bronchodilators or bronchodilators . The drugs of these groups quickly relieve the symptoms of suffocation.

Basic anti-inflammatory therapy includes cromones , antileukotriene and anticholinergic drugs. These drugs do not have a quick effect. They are designed for continuous use. Anti-inflammatory drugs do not relieve an attack of suffocation. They act on the main cause of asthma – inflammation in the bronchi.

Anti-inflammatory drugs

Anti-inflammatory drugs reduce the frequency and intensity of attacks. Their use leads to the relief of asthmatic symptoms. Given the fact that asthma is a chronic disease, the course of taking anti-inflammatory drugs is quite long. The person will feel relief after three or four weeks.

Groups of drugs used to treat asthma with tachycardia:

  • β2-agonists ( bronchodilators that reduce vascular permeability, improve mucociliary clearance, relax the muscles of the bronchi and increase their lumen);
  • anticholinergics (dilate the bronchi, reduce cough and reduce the amount of mucus secreted);
  • antileukotriene drugs (reduce inflammation, have a bronchodilator effect).

In the case of tachycardia, non-pharmacological treatment of asthma should be considered. There are special exercises to improve breathing. Respiratory gymnastics has a beneficial effect on the patient’s condition.

It allows you to restore breathing. Simple exercises are allowed during all periods of illness. After taking a deep breath, slowly exhale the air through a short hose or cocktail straw into a jar of water. The exercise lasts about 10 minutes. It should be repeated 5 times a day.

Running in the morning, walking, swimming in the pool has a good effect on the recovery process. People with asthma in remission can do these types of physical education. You need to start playing sports with light loads, and then you can move on to large ones.

One of the methods of non-drug therapy is massage. It is important to do it for the muscles of the chest and back. By massaging these areas, you can improve the functioning of the respiratory system, increase the discharge of mucus. Massage is carried out once daily, and sometimes twice a day. You should also massage the areas of the face near the nose, because a violation of the patency of the nasal cavity leads to difficulty breathing.


In asthma, due to inflammation and spasm of the muscles of the bronchi, suffocating attacks are observed. Arrhythmia in an asthmatic appears due to a decrease in the amount of oxygen that goes to organs and tissues due to the fact that the respiratory organs cannot cope with their functions in full.

The patient develops tachycardia because the heart has to contract more frequently to pump more blood and provide oxygen to the body. Ultimately, such disorders affect other organs and systems, undermine health and lead to the development of complications.

event_note September 3, 2020

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