Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

Supraventricular tachycardia, most commonly referred to as SVT includes multiple different forms all with similar symptoms.  The most common types of SVT are: atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT), atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia (AVRT) and atrial tachycardia (AT).

About the Disorder

The type of SVT is classified based on the path of electrical signal during the tachycardia. SVT begins in the upper chambers of the heart, (Atria), and can travel to the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) through a variety of normal and abnormal electrical pathways. The normal connection between the atria and ventricles is called the atrioventricular node (AV node). When the SVT travels through the normal electrical system only, the result is atrial tachycardia (AT). When the AV node has an extra electrical circuit, the result can be AV nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT). Finally, when there is an alternative (or "accessory" or "bypass") pathway between the atrea and ventricles, the resulting SVT can be AV reentrant tachycardia (AVRT).

Symptoms and Signs

  • Palpitations- the feeling of a rapid or erratic heart beat while sitting quietly or at rest or faster than normal heart rate with exercise
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart pounding
  • Feeling pulsations in your throat
  • Sudden sense of a fast heart rate and a sudden end to the to the fast heart rate

These symptoms can be brief but can also last for hours.

Treatment

Your EP team may prescribe medication for treatment. Medication is not a cure but can decrease the number of episodes and help to control symptoms.

Sometimes ablation is used to treat different types of arrhythmias such as SVT. More information can found about ablation on UpBeat.