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Health Information For Parents
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a type of
(abnormal heart rhythm) in which the heart beats very quickly.
The abnormal heart rhythm starts in the atria, which are the top chambers of the heart. Supraventricular tachycardia (soo-pruh-ven-TRIK-yuh-ler tak-ih-KAR-dee-uh) often happens suddenly and can last for a few minutes or many hours.
An area in the atria called the sinus node sends electrical signals that tell the heart to beat at a normal rate. They also tell the heart to speed up during exercise or times of stress, and to slow down during sleep.
Normally, the electrical signals follow set paths from the heart’s top chambers down to its bottom chambers (the ventricles). In people with SVT, the signals can sometimes “short circuit” and make the heart beat faster.
SVT causes the heart to work harder to do its job, especially if it goes on for a long time. Longer episodes can make the heart tired and not able to pump normally.
How long episodes last and how often they happen is different for each person with SVT.
Some kids with SVT have no symptoms at all. When they do, palpitations (a feeling of a fast heartbeat or pounding in the chest) are the most common.
Other symptoms might include:
SVT can be congenital, which means a child is born with it. Or SVT can develop later in life. Sometimes SVT happens because of other heart conditions.
Supraventricular tachycardia usually affects infants, young kids, and teens.
Doctors use several tools to diagnose SVT. It’s very important for parents to know their child’s
and give this information to the doctor.
The doctor will do a physical exam and order an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) to measure the heart’s electrical activity. These types of EKGs might be done:
Many arrhythmias like SVT may not need treatment.
Treatment might be done when SVT causes symptoms, lasts a long time, or happens often. Options include:
Medicine. Doctors may use medicines (such as beta blockers) that slow the heart rate. This lowers the chances of having frequent or long episodes of SVT. Sometimes, these cause side effects, so a child will see his or her doctor regularly.
. With the child asleep and comfortable, a
(a thin, flexible plastic wire) is guided through a vein or artery in the leg to the heart. When the problem area of the heart is pinpointed, the catheter tip can use hot energy (called radiofrequency ablation) or cold energy (called cryoablation) to destroy the tissues causing the arrhythmia.
Most children with SVT lead a normal life. It’s important to follow up with the
as often as needed.
The heart and circulatory system are our body’s lifeline, delivering blood to the body’s tissues. Brush up on your ticker with this body basics article.
An arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat usually caused by an electrical “short circuit” in the heart. Many are minor and not a health threat, but some can indicate a more serious problem.
The heart and circulatory system (also called the cardiovascular system) make up the network that delivers blood to the body’s tissues.
Ventricular septal defect, or VSD, is a heart condition that a few teens can have. Find out what it is, how it happens, and what doctors do to correct it.
Ventricular septal defect (VSD) â also known as a “hole in the heart” â is a congenital heart defect. Most VSDs are diagnosed and treated successfully.
A guide to medical terms about the heart and circulatory system. In an easy A-Z format, find definitions on heart defects, heart conditions, treatments, and more.
Your heart beats and sends blood all around your body. Find out more about the heart, from A to Z, in this glossary.
Arrhythmias are abnormal heartbeats usually caused by an electrical “short circuit” in the heart. Many are minor and not a significant health threat, but others can indicate a more serious problem.
Atrial septal defect, or ASD, is a heart defect that some people are born with. Most ASDs are diagnosed and treated successfully with few or no complications.
Atrial septal defect (ASD) â also known as a “hole in the heart” â is a type of congenital heart defect. Most ASDs are diagnosed and treated successfully.
This video shows what it’s like to have an electrocardiogram (EKG for short).
Getting an EKG doesn’t hurt and it gives doctors important info about how your heart is beating. Watch what happens in this video for kids.
Is your child scheduled to have an ECG? Find out how this test is performed and when you can expect the results.
Everyone’s heart makes sounds, but some people have hearts that make more noise than others. Usually, however, these heart murmurs don’t mean anything is wrong. Find out more about these mysterious murmurs.
Heart murmurs are very common, and most are no cause for concern and won’t affect a child’s health.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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