What You Need to Know About Supraventricular Tachycardia
Supraventricular tachycardia or “SVT, is caused by a cardiac electrical impulse originating in the upper chamber of the heart (thus the term “supraventricular” or above the ventricles which are the lower set of heart chambers). SVT is the result of an electrical impulse running in circles like a racecar on a racetrack. Usually this abnormal circuit is the result of an extra electrical connection between the two upper and the two lower chambers of the heart.
There are many different variants of SVT and how they are best treated depends on the patient. One option is medical therapy. Medications unfortunately only prove effective for about one third of SVT patients. For those whom medications have failed or who do not want or can’t tolerate medications, catheter ablation should be considered. Catheter ablation of SVT can cure the majority of patients for life of this recurrent arrhythmia and this can usually be done with a single 1-2 hour out-patient minimally invasive procedure.
Different Types of Supraventricular Tachycardia
There are several different types of SVT. The technical names of some of the more common types include:
- Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome or WPW
- Ectopic Atrial Tachycardia
- Macro-reentant Atrial Tachycardia
- Orthodromic Reciprocating Tachycardia
- AV Nodal Reentry Tachcyardia
Some people experience these symptoms of supraventrical tachycardia:
- A racing or fluttering feeling in the chest (palpitations).
- Chest discomfort (pressure, tightness, pain).
- Lightheadedness or dizziness.
- Fainting (syncope).
- Shortness of breath.
- A pounding pulse. You may feel or see your pulse beating, especially at your neck, where large blood vessels are close to the skin.
- Tightness or fullness in the throat.
- Tiredness (fatigue).
- Excessive urine production.