ID: 108
Category: Heart condition
CreatedBy: 1
UpdatedBy: 1
createdon: 17 Jan 2023
updatedon: 31 Mar 2023

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Author: Khoa Tran
Published Jan 17, 2023
Updated Mar 31, 2023

Table of contents

Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

Etymology and Pronunciation

Supraventricular (soo-pruh-ven-trik-yoo-lar)
supra - Latin for "above"
ventricular - Latin for "pertaining to the ventricles"

Tachycardia (tak-ee-kahr-dee-uh)
tachys - Greek for "swift or rapid"
kardia - Greek for "heart"
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a heart rhythm disorder that affects the electrical system of the heart, leading to a fast heart rate. SVT is a type of tachycardia, which means a heart beating very quickly, often at a rate of more than 150-220 beats per minute (range depends on age). This is faster than the normal resting heart rate (60-100 beats per minute).. This condition can cause various symptoms, including palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, lightheadedness, and even fainting.

There are several types of SVT, including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, atrioventricular reentry tachycardia, junctional tachycardia, atrial tachycardia, multifocal atrial tachycardia, and AV nodal reentrant tachycardia. SVT can also be associated with certain syndromes, such as Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome and Lown-Ganong-Levine syndrome.

SVT can cause symptoms such as palpitations (feeling like the heart is racing), shortness of breath, chest pain, lightheadedness, or fainting. It is usually benign and not life-threatening, but it can make the person feel uncomfortable and can be associated with other health issues.

Despite the fact that SVT is typically not fatal, many patients experience repeated symptoms that significantly lower their quality of life. Many patients restrict their lifestyle as a result of the unpredictable and sporadic character of tachycardia episodes, and many would rather receive curative treatment.

Diagnosis of SVT typically involves an electrocardiogram (ECG), which is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. Treatment for SVT is determined based on the type and severity of the tachycardia, as well as the patient's overall health and medical history. It's important to work with a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for you.

Causes of Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

- Abnormal heart structures: Abnormal heart structures, such as extra electrical pathways, can cause SVT.
- Abnormal heart rhythms: Certain abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation, can trigger SVT.
- Stimulants: Stimulants, such as caffeine, nicotine, and certain medications, can cause or exacerbate SVT.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, can lead to SVT.
- Genetics: Some cases of SVT may be inherited or genetic in nature.

Treatments for Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

- Vagal maneuvers: An example of vagal maneuver is called modified valsalva maneuver. These are non-invasive techniques that can help to slow down the heart rate. Examples include bearing down as if having a bowel movement, holding the breath, coughing, or placing an ice pack on the face.
- Medications: There are several types of medications that can be used to treat SVT, including beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and anti-arrhythmic drugs. These medications work by slowing down the heart rate or regulating the heart's rhythm.
- Cardioversion: This is a medical procedure in which an electric shock is given to the heart to reset the heart's rhythm. This can be done with external paddles or through an internal procedure called transesophageal echocardiography (TEE).
- Catheter ablation: This is a minimally invasive procedure in which a catheter is inserted into the heart to destroy the area of heart tissue that is causing the abnormal heart rhythm.
- Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to treat SVT. This might include removing a small section of the heart tissue that is causing the abnormal heart rhythm.

It's important to note that the best treatment for SVT will depend on the individual case, and that treatment may need to be adjusted over time based on the effectiveness of the treatment and the individual's response to it. It's also important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms of SVT, as this condition can be serious if left untreated.


High heart rate (150 beats per minute)

Confirmation Tests

- Heart monitor