Supraventricular tachycardia

What is Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW) ?

Many patients with WPW syndrome are otherwise healthy and often quite young when this arrhythmia is diagnosed. This type of arrhythmia involves an extra electrical pathway from the atria to the ventricles. Known as the “accessory pathway,” electrical impulses may be transmitted rapidly via this pathway and the rapid rhythm sometimes can be dangerous. Other times, the pathway allows a circuit to form leading to a rapid arrhythmia. The most common symptoms people experience with WPW syndrome are palpitations, dizziness, and chest discomfort. Some people with WPW do not have arrhythmias. Treatment: Certain forms of drug therapy can be effective; however, in most symptomatic cases, cardiac ablation is recommended to cure this condition.

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What is Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia

This condition originates in the sinus node and is characterized by an abnormally fast heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute for prolonged periods of time. Symptoms are palpitations, fatigue, and lightheadedness. Treatment: antiarrhythmic drugs usually offer successful treatment for sinus tachycardia. In rare cases, cardiac ablation is needed to control this condition.

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What is AV Nodal Reentrant Tachycardia (AVNRT)?

AV nodal reentrant tachycardia is the most common form of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia or PSVT. Patients afflicted with this arrhythmia do not usually have other structural problems with their heart. The arrhythmia originates in the tissues near the AV node, the electrical structure that transmits impulses between the upper and lower chambers of the heart. Susceptible individuals will have two pathways that can channel impulses to and from the AV node. Under the right conditions, usually following a premature beat, these pathways can form an electrical circuit. An impulse will revolve around this circuit and each revolution will lead to impulse propagation to the atria and the ventricles, and thus a rapid heart-beat results. Treatment: Certain forms of drug therapy can be effective; however, in most cases, cardiac ablation is recommended to cure this condition.

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What is Atrioventricular Reciprocating Tachycardia?

Many patients with this condition are otherwise healthy and often quite young when this arrhythmia is diagnosed. This type of arrhythmia involves an extra electrical pathway from the atria to the ventricles known as the “accessory pathway,” electrical impulses may be transmitted rapidly via this allowing a circuit to form leading to a rapid arrhythmia. Atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia is similar to Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome in that the abnormal electrical pathway bypasses the AV node. The difference, however, between WPW and this condition is that the abnormalities do not show up on a patient’s resting EKG. The most common symptoms people experience are palpitations, dizziness, and chest discomfort. Treatment: Certain forms of drug therapy can be effective; however, in most cases, cardiac ablation is recommended to cure this condition.

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What is Atrial Tachycardia?

atrial tachycardia is an electrical circuit originating in the upper or atrial chambers. This electrical circuit or focus takes over and generates rapid impulses across the atrial chambers. These impulses are transmitted to the ventricular chambers resulting in a rapid rate. These arrhythmias may originate from a variety of places across the atria. They may exist as an isolated problem or be related to an ongoing structural problem within the heart. Treatment: antiarrhythmic drugs are sometimes sufficient treatment for atrial tachycardia. In some cases, cardiac ablation is needed to cure this condition.

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What is the treatment for SVT?

If your attacks are infrequent and last seconds rather than hours , you may not need treatment . If you have frequent attacks, your physician may prescribe drugs as a preventative measure. As an alternative to lifelong medication, your physician may suggest you have a procedure called catheter ablation. A Electrophysiologist will insert a catheter (thin, hollow tube) into your groin or neck, then guide it through a vein into the heart. The catheter has a small electrode at its tip, which sits against the part of the heart that isn”t conducting properly. It uses radio-frequency electrical energy waves to destroy the areas of the heart that cause the abnormal rhythm. Due to extremely high sucess rate of catheter ablation and its very favorable saftey profile it is often considered first line therapy in patients with frequent episodes in the US.

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Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome and Lown-Ganong-Levine syndrome

supraventricular tachycardia can happen in patients with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome and Lown-Ganong-Levine Syndrome. In both of these conditions, your electrical impulses follow an extra pathway between the upper and lower chambers of the heart, which causes a rapid heart beat. Your physician may need to refer you to a Electrophysiologist for more detailed studies of the electrical activity of the heart

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What tests or treatment will I need?

A test called an electrocardiogram (ECG) can detect if you have SVT. You may also need to have a 24-hour ECG recording if your SVT only happens occasionally. For this you will need to wear a portable tape recorder attached to electrodes on the chest to record the electrical activity during the attacks. The tape can then be analysed by the hospital . If these tests fail to identify a problem, you may need a more detailed examination of the electrical activity of the heart called electrophysiological testing.

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What causes SVT?

If you have extra electrical pathways in the heart, this can cause SVT. Stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol can act as a trigger, as can emotional upset. Attacks usually start in your youth and may recur over many years.

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What is supraventricular tachycardia?

supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a rapid heart rhythm that you get when there is extra electrical activity in the two upper chambers of the heart . In SVT, the top two chambers of the heart beat very quickly, usually at a rate between 140 and 240 beats per minute. In most cases, the heart is normal and the heart rhythm is harmless although uncomfortable. The most common symptom is palpitation, but you may also get dizziness or fainting.

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