Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), also called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, is defined as an abnormally fast heartbeat coming from the top chambers of the heart.
A normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute. A heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute is called a tachycardia (tak-ih-KAHR-dee-uh). This occurs when the electrical impulses that coordinate your heartbeats don't work properly. It may feel like a fluttering or racing heart.
Most people with rare episodes of supraventricular tachycardia live healthy lives without restrictions or interventions. For others, treatment and lifestyle changes can often control or eliminate rapid heartbeats. For most patients, ablations procedure is curative.
Supraventricular tachycardia may come and go suddenly, with stretches of normal heart rates in between. Symptoms may last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, and some people have no symptoms at all.
Supraventricular tachycardia becomes a problem when it occurs frequently and is ongoing, particularly if you have heart damage or other coexisting medical problems.
Signs and symptoms of supraventricular tachycardia may include:
- A fluttering in your chest
- Rapid heartbeat (palpitations)
- Shortness of breath
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- A pounding sensation in the neck
- Fainting (syncope) or near fainting
Over time, untreated and frequent episodes of supraventricular tachycardia may weaken the heart and lead to heart failure, particularly if you have other coexisting medical conditions.
In extreme cases, an episode of supraventricular tachycardia may cause unconsciousness or cardiac arrest.