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VA Disability Rating for Sinus Tachycardia

VA Disability Rating for Sinus Tachycardia

Whether you are seeking VA disability benefits for the first time or are in the midst of an appeal, you may have questions regarding your service-connected health conditions. 

When applying for disability compensation for sinus tachycardia and other related stress-induced health conditions, predicting how the VA will rate your condition can be tricky. Berry Law is here to give you the information you need to get the benefits you deserve. 

What Is Sinus Tachycardia?

Sinus tachycardia is one of many conditions that affect heart rhythm. Sinus tachycardia is normally triggered by strenuous exercise or stress as part of the body’s natural response. 

However, this state can persist after the stress has subsided, so it is necessary to seek medical help. Veterans who experienced the breakneck pace of training or the stress of active deployment are prime candidates for heart rhythm conditions.

The impact sinus tachycardia can have on a Veteran’s life cannot be overstated, as the condition can directly impact one’s ability to work, stay active, and enjoy any physical activity, which has the potential to raise your heart rate. 

What Are the Common Symptoms of Sinus Tachycardia?

Under normal conditions, like exercising or training, the heart will speed up to facilitate increased blood flow. It will then subside once the body senses there is no longer a need for the increased heart rate. An issue arises when the heart rate remains elevated long after the stressful activity has ended. 

Tachycardia can be difficult to identify, as it presents similarly to other stress-induced heart conditions. However, these symptoms may indicate it is time to seek medical assessment. 

According to a study published in the VA’s Health Library, symptoms of heart rhythm conditions like sinus tachycardia include dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, and chest pain in severe cases. Sometimes the first indicator is shortness of breath or a racing heartbeat that persists long after you have stopped a strenuous activity. 

These symptoms do not present themselves the same way in each individual. If you have a past history of stressful experiences or extreme strenuous activity and have experienced any of these symptoms, you may want to schedule an appointment to discuss your symptoms with a qualified physician. 

What Is the Process for Diagnosis and Care?

Primarily, physicians will likely monitor your resting heart rate and compare it against the average resting heart rate for a person with similar physical characteristics. The average adult resting heart rate can range between 70 to 100 beats per minute. If your physician detects an abnormally high resting heart rate, which elevates rapidly with small movements and minimal activity, it may be classified as sinus tachycardia. 

The difficulty following this determination is finding the cause of the condition. According to the National Library of Medicine, several underlying conditions can sometimes cause sinus tachycardia. They range in treatability from dehydration and caffeine consumption to sepsis, a systemic inflammatory illness caused by severe infection. 

Additionally, some health conditions can closely mirror the symptoms of sinus tachycardia, including pregnancy and withdrawal from certain drugs and alcohol. However, in cases where these underlying causes are not present, physicians often categorize the condition as inappropriate sinus tachycardia, which is frequently connected to past stressful or traumatic experiences. 

How Is Sinus Tachycardia Treated?

Sinus tachycardia is treated differently depending on whether an underlying condition caused it.

When the condition results from an underlying health issue such as infection or an adverse effect of medication, the general approach is to focus on the underlying cause to bring down the individual’s heart rate to a safe level. 

In situations involving inappropriate sinus tachycardia, which lacks any underlying cause, generally, treatment revolves around significantly reducing triggers like stress and exercise to prevent the heart rate from spiking and causing more serious heart issues. However, if left undiagnosed and unmanaged, inappropriate sinus tachycardia can lead to many heart complications, including end-organ system failure and even death.

How Does the Disability Rating System Work?

When assessing a Veteran’s disability rating, the VA will examine the conditions in their medical file to determine how their service-connected health conditions will affect that Veteran’s ability to work and quality of life. This data is converted to a percentage scale which determines the overall level of impact the Veteran’s disability has on their life.

Do I Need a Diagnosis?

To establish that the VA covers your disability, three conditions will likely need to be met: 

  • First, you need an official diagnosis demonstrating your condition. This can be acquired from a VA physician or your local physician if you ensure the condition is fully documented. 
  • Second, you need to prove that the condition is service-connected. This requires thorough documentation from your service file, testimony from fellow service members, and even medical records from your service that detail the incident initially triggering your current disability. 
  • Third, you can choose to ask a private healthcare provider for a nexus letter, which discusses your current symptoms, their effect on your life, and their direct connection to a condition that was caused or exacerbated by your service. Because the VA has a duty to assist and provide examinationsm a nexus letter is not required to receive a disability rating. However, a nexus letter may help substantiate your claim, as it is verifiable testimony from your physician connecting the symptoms you experience to the sacrifices you made so that you can receive the benefits you’ve earned. 

What Should I Expect From an Evaluation?

The VA evaluates each claim to determine a service-connected disability’s impact on a Veteran’s life. This is measured on a percentage scale, directly correlating to the compensation level you may receive. 

Sinus Tachycardia and Disability Ratings

Because sinus tachycardia can present itself in many ways, there is no standard for the disability rating the VA will assign to this condition. Each Veteran’s file is reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine how much a given disability affects their quality of life. 

However, suppose you are eligible for benefits based on one service-connected condition caused by stress or some other underlying issue. In that case, there are likely other conditions that may already be on your file, which are viewed in tandem with your sinus tachycardia. 

For example, if documentation has already established a connection between a Veteran’s service and a separate disability, such as a herniated disc or hearing loss, these conditions and their ratings would stack with sinus tachycardia and result in a higher percentage of disability and a higher level of compensation available for that Veteran.

In Summation 

Your service in any capacity involves personal sacrifice, and the VA exists to compensate Veterans who have sustained lasting conditions. Sinus tachycardia caused by long, uncertain days carrying heavy physical and mental burdens can seriously impact a Veteran’s life after service. 

As such, it is important to obtain all documents from your service files and additional evidence that could help establish a connection between your current condition and an incident that caused it even years ago.

This is not an easy task, which is why Berry Law’s team of Veterans and Military family members is there to provide you with sound legal advice and champion your cause in the event that you need to appeal a denial of service connection, increase your disability rating, or appeal your effective date. Berry Law can put your needs first to ensure you get the full compensation you deserve. 

Sources:

Testing and Treating Your Heart’s Electrical System | Veterans Health Library

Sinus Tachycardia – StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf

Inappropriate sinus tachycardia | Topics by Science.gov

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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