Frog Sign- Atrioventricular Nodal Reentrant Tachycardia.
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT): Understanding the Rapid Heart Rhythm
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) is a cardiac arrhythmia characterized by a rapid heartbeat originating above the heart’s ventricles. It’s a condition that affects millions of people worldwide and can lead to a range of symptoms and concerns. In this article, we will explore the basics of SVT, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and available treatment options.
Understanding Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT):
SVT is an umbrella term that encompasses various rapid heart rhythms originating from above the ventricles, typically in the atria. These rapid rhythms can cause the heart to beat too fast, leading to a range of symptoms. One common form of SVT is atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT), but other types exist as well.
Causes of SVT:
The precise cause of SVT can vary. It can result from abnormal electrical pathways in the heart, congenital heart defects, or underlying medical conditions such as thyroid problems or lung diseases. Triggers like stress, caffeine, alcohol, or certain medications can also provoke SVT episodes in susceptible individuals.
Symptoms of SVT:
The hallmark symptom of SVT is a rapid and often irregular heartbeat, which can be uncomfortable or alarming. Other common symptoms include palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and lightheadedness. In severe cases or during prolonged episodes, SVT can lead to fainting or syncope.
Diagnosis of SVT:
Diagnosing SVT typically involves an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to record the heart’s electrical activity during an episode. Holter monitoring, where a patient wears a portable EKG device for an extended period, can help capture infrequent episodes. In some cases, electrophysiological studies (EP studies) may be conducted to locate and assess the abnormal electrical pathways in the heart.
Treatment for SVT depends on its severity, frequency, and impact on the patient’s quality of life. Some common treatment options include:
Vagal Maneuvers: Techniques like the Valsalva maneuver or carotid massage can sometimes help terminate SVT episodes.
Medications: Antiarrhythmic medications may be prescribed to control and prevent SVT episodes.
Cardioversion: This procedure involves using electrical shocks to reset the heart’s rhythm in cases of severe or persistent SVT.
Ablation: Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that targets and destroys the abnormal electrical pathways causing SVT.
Lifestyle Changes: Avoiding triggers like caffeine and alcohol, managing stress, and adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can help prevent SVT.
Supraventricular Tachycardia is a common cardiac arrhythmia that can significantly impact a person’s well-being. While it can be distressing, effective diagnosis and appropriate treatment options are available to manage SVT and improve the quality of life for those affected. If you suspect you have SVT or experience symptoms, seek medical attention promptly for a proper evaluation and personalized treatment plan.