Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is an abnormal, rapid heart rhythm that starts in the upper chambers of the heart, called the atria. In a normal heart, electricity travels from the atria, through the atrioventricular (AV) node to the lowers chambers, called the ventricles. This transmission produces a regular heartbeat of 60 to 100 times per minute. In SVT, the heart beats too quickly — up to 300 beats per minute — preventing the heart from filling completely with blood. As a result, the body doesn't receive the blood volume it needs to function properly.
There are many different forms of SVT, including:
Supraventricular Tachycardia may cause the following symptoms:
Supraventricular tachycardia may occur spontaneously with unpredictable timing. Therefore, in many cases, the condition requires specialized tests to acquire an accurate diagnosis. If your doctor suspects that your child has an arrhythmia, one or more of the following diagnostic tests will be ordered to determine the source of your child's symptoms.
The treatment for your child's supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) will depend on the type and severity of their condition and the results of various diagnostic tests, such as the electrophysiology (EP) study. You and your doctor will decide which treatment is right for your child.
The following treatments may be considered:
Certain anti-arrhythmic drugs change the electrical signals in the heart and help prevent heart abnormalities from starting irregular or rapid heart rhythms. Medication may be used to convert SVT to a normal rhythm, slow down the heart rate or prevent recurrences. Our goal is to find the medication that works best for your child. On occasion, we admit children to the hospital and monitor their heart rhythm while we start the medication.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.
Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
1975 Fourth St., Fourth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-1955
Fax: (415) 353-9144