What is Supraventricular Tachycardia?

Supraventricular tachycardia or SVT is an abnormally fast heart rhythm that is caused by abnormalities of the cardiac electrical impulse from the top chambers of the heart. The top chambers, the left atrium and right atrium, are usually activated regularly by the sino-atrial node in the right atrium. In SVT, the right and left atria are activated abnormally fast and thus cause the ventricles to also beat fast.

Causes of Supraventricular Tachycardia

The cause of SVT may be abnormal or duplicated cardiac electrical circuits in the left and right atria. Abnormal cardiac electrical tissue may have been present from birth or may have developed with age.

Symptoms of Supraventricular Tachycardia

The symptoms of SVT are most often palpitations or skipped heart beats. Other symptoms such as chest discomfort, light headedness, fatigue, or anxiety may also occur. The SVT may last for short or long periods depending on the type of SVT and the site of origin.

SVT Treatment

If an SVT is significant, it can often be treated with medications or an ablation procedure. While medications may be effective in suppressing most forms of SVT, an ablation procedure may be able to cure the SVT. A board certified electrophysiologist is a cardiologist with specialized advanced training that can determine the source of the SVT and develop an individualized plan to treat the SVT.

To learn more about supraventricular tachycardia, please visit the educational websites below.