Understanding Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a type of abnormal heart rhythm, also known as arrhythmia, which originates above the ventricles in the heart. It is a condition that causes a rapid heartbeat, with an average heart rate ranging from 100 to 180 beats per minute.

Common Symptoms of SVT

Symptoms of SVT can vary from person to person, but the most common symptoms include palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting. Some people may experience no symptoms at all.

Causes of SVT

The exact cause of SVT is unknown, but it can be triggered by various factors such as stress, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and certain medications. In some cases, SVT can be caused by an underlying heart condition such as congenital heart disease, myocarditis, or valvular heart disease.

Types of SVT

There are several types of SVT, including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW). Each type of SVT has a different mechanism of action and requires specific treatment.

Diagnosis of SVT

To diagnose SVT, a doctor will perform a physical exam, review medical history, and order diagnostic tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), Holter monitor, or event recorder. These tests can help identify the type of SVT and determine the appropriate treatment plan.

Treatments for SVT

Treatment options for SVT include medication, cardioversion, catheter ablation, and surgery. Medications such as beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers can be used to control heart rate and rhythm. Cardioversion is a procedure that uses electrical shocks to restore normal heart rhythm. Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that destroys the abnormal heart tissue responsible for SVT. Surgery is a last resort option and is only considered when other treatments fail.

Preventing SVT

Prevention of SVT involves avoiding triggers that can cause episodes of SVT, such as stress, caffeine, and alcohol. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep, can also help prevent SVT.

Managing SVT

Managing SVT involves monitoring heart rate and rhythm, taking medication as prescribed, and seeking medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen. It is also important to inform healthcare providers of any new symptoms or changes in health status.

Prognosis of SVT

The prognosis for SVT is generally good, and most people with SVT can live normal, healthy lives with proper treatment and management. However, untreated or poorly managed SVT can lead to complications such as stroke, heart failure, or sudden cardiac arrest.


Supraventricular tachycardia is a common type of arrhythmia that can cause a rapid heartbeat and various symptoms. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are key to managing SVT and preventing complications. If you experience symptoms of SVT, seek medical attention promptly.

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