Supraventricular Tachycardia Ablation

General Information

What Is Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)?

In some hearts, an abnormal heart rhythm develops in the top part of the heart when an electrical impulse either starts from a different location other than the SA node, or follows a route (or pathway) that is not normally present. When this occurs the heart will suddenly start racing. The heart rate is usually over 150 beats per minute and often over 200 beats per minute. Certain things in some people can trigger episodes. These include caffeine, alcohol, anxiety, exercise or sudden movements such as bending over.

However, often these episodes can occur at any time without a trigger. During an episode, you will usually be aware of the rapid beating of your heart. Other symptoms might include dizziness (blacking out may occur but is unusual), shortness of breath, sweating, chest pain and anxiety. After an episode it is usual to feel very tired.

Is Supraventricular Tachycardia Dangerous?

In the vast majority of cases SVT is a benign condition. This means that it will not cause sudden death, damage the heart or cause a heart attack. It will not shorten life expectancy. There are some rare exceptions that will be discussed with you if relevant.

How Does Supraventricular Tachycardia Occur?

There are 3 main types of SVT. It will not always be obvious which type of SVT you have prior to the electrical study of your heart.

What Treatments Are Available For Supraventricular Tachycardia?

There are 3 main options for people with SVT:

  1. No treatment at all. Because SVT is a benign condition, for those people having infrequent and short-lived episodes that are not troublesome one option is to simply live with it.
  2. Medication. For people who do not wish to continue having episodes a second option is to take regular daily medication. There are a variety of different possible medications. Medications reduce the frequency and severity of episodes but do not cure the problem. There is also the possibility of developing side effects from these drugs.
  3. Radiofrequency Ablation. This is a procedure that cures the condition.

 

What Is Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)?

Radiofrequency is a low power, high frequency energy that causes a tiny region of the heart near the tip of the catheter to increase in temperature, thus ablating (or cauterising) a small area of abnormal tissue. Radiofrequency energy has been used for decades by surgeons to cut tissue or to stop bleeding. For the treatment of palpitations, a much lower power of radio-frequency energy is used.


  • Professor Sanders says...

     
    Atrial fibrillation is a consequence of several reversible risk factors - high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, sleep apnoea, and excessive alcohol. Your management of atrial fibrillation must include strict control of these risk factors.

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