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Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) occurs when the heart beats too fast, causing the heart to not fill with blood completely. The heart normally beats at 60-100 beats per minute (bpm) but with supraventricular tachycardia the heartbeats 150-250 bpm.
In some cases, supraventricular tachycardia has no symptoms, but this condition can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Some of these complications include heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest, or stroke.
There are many types of heart rhythm disorders, called tachycardia. There is chronic atrial fibrillation (AFIB), the most common kind of tachycardia that is often caused by structural abnormalities of the heart related to heart disease. There is paroxysmal sinus tachycardia, atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia (AVNRT), atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT), Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, and finally supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).
If you suspect you have SVT or any of the conditions mentioned above, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Both men and women can have SVT, but it appears to be more common in women. SVT is also the most common arrhythmia in children.
The most common symptom is heart palpitations or rapid heartbeat. Other symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, fainting, angina (chest pain), fatigue, sweating, and nausea. Symptoms may start and stop suddenly and last for a few minutes. In some serious cases, patients may lose their consciousness. On the other side of the spectrum, some people may not experience any symptoms at all.
There may be some signs or symptoms of SVT not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above, consult with your doctor immediately. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
Normally, the electrical signal that starts in the heart’s sinoatrial (SA) node starts the contraction of the atria. Then, the ventricles contract. SVT occurs when an extra electrical pathway triggers fast heartbeats.
The causes of this behavior include medicines (such as digoxin, or theophylline), and lung conditions (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or pneumonia).
Alcohol, caffeine, illicit drugs, and smoking increase the risk of SVT. Genetics also comes into play. One type of SVT known as Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome may be inherited.
Many factors can affect the heart’s electrical system. Some of those that have been identified include:
Take note that the absence of risk factors does not mean you cannot get SVT. These factors are a guide to inform you if you are at risk of developing the condition.
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is an effective tool that is widely used by physicians for diagnosing tachycardia as well as other cardiovascular problems.
Doctors can also make a diagnosis by listening to heart sounds. With tachycardia, blood moves abnormally through the mitral valve and causes a sound called a murmur which can be heard with the help of a stethoscope. The timing and location of the murmur help the doctor identify which valve is affected.
The doctor uses a physical examination, medical history, electrocardiography (ECG), laboratory tests, and chest X-ray for the initial diagnosis. The doctor may order a Holter monitor, a portable 24-hour ECG, to determine how often arrhythmia occurs during a 24-hour period. The doctor may also want an electrophysiology study (EPS) for a more accurate diagnosis.
Treatment is not necessary for people without symptoms.
For those with symptoms, treatment includes vagal maneuvers, such as the Valsalva maneuver or coughing, and splashing ice water on the face.
Medicines like adenosine, diltiazem, and verapamil may be prescribed. The doctor may use electrical cardioversion for emergency treatment or if other treatments don’t work. In electrical cardioversion, a brief electric current is given to fix the heart’s rhythm.
For recurring SVT, treatment may involve drugs (such as beta-blockers), pacemakers, or catheter ablation (either heat /radiofrequency ablation or cold / cryoablation) to destroy a small part of the heart that is sending the abnormal electrical signals. , and surgery.
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with supraventricular tachycardia.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders/Elsevier, 2012. Print edition.
Supraventricular tachycardia. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/supraventricular_tachycardia-health/article_em.htm. Date Accessed July 7, 2016.
Tachycardia. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tachycardia/basics/causes/con-20043012?p=1. Date Accessed July 7, 2016.
Supraventricular tachycardia. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000183.htm. Accessed July 7, 2016.