Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) is episodes of rapid heart rate that start in a part of the heart above the ventricles. "Paroxysmal" means from time to time.
PSVT; Supraventricular tachycardia; Abnormal heart rhythm - PSVT; Arrhythmia - PSVT; Rapid heart rate - PSVT; Fast heart rate - PSVT
Normally, the chambers of the heart (atria and ventricles) contract in a coordinated manner.
The rapid heart rate from PSVT may start with events that occur in areas of the heart above the lower chambers (ventricles).
There are a number of specific causes of PSVT. It can develop when doses of the heart medicine, digitalis, are too high. It can also occur with a condition known as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which is most often seen in young people and infants.
The following increase your risk for PSVT:
Symptoms most often start and stop suddenly. They can last for a few minutes or several hours. Symptoms may include:
Other symptoms that can occur with this condition include:
PSVT that occurs only once in a while may not need treatment if you don't have symptoms or other heart problems.
You can try the following techniques to interrupt a fast heartbeat during an episode of PSVT:
You should avoid smoking, caffeine, alcohol, and illicit drugs.
Emergency treatment to slow the heartbeat back to normal may include:
Long-term treatment for people who have repeat episodes of PSVT, or who also have heart disease, may include:
PSVT is generally not life threatening. If other heart disorders are present, it can lead to congestive heart failure or angina.
Contact your health care provider if:
It is especially important to contact your provider if you also have other heart problems.
Published Date: January 09, 2022
Published By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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