Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

Supraventricular tachycardia, most commonly referred to as SVT, is the most common type of abnormal fast heart rhythms in children. Learn about Normal Conduction System. SVT is a broad term and includes many different forms all with similar type of symptoms. 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), travels through an abnormal electrical circuit within the AV node (AV node reentrant tachycardia or AVNRT), or, through an extra abnormal pathway, called an accessory pathway or bypass tract (AV reentrant tachycardia or AVRT). An accessory pathway is an extra band of tissue/fibers that connect the atria to the ventricles.   

What are the symptoms?

  • 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
  • Toddlers and younger (when verbal) children may describe symptoms as their “heart beeping”

Infants cannot communicate their symptoms but they may exhibit signs of:

  • Poor feeding
  • Profuse sweating with feeding
  • Being Listless/lethargic
  • Appearing generally ill
  • Breathing faster than normal

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

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.  In most cases, these medications are taken daily.



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