Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) is an umbrella term for several heart conditions where the heart beats faster than expected. A PSVT episode starts in the heart’s upper chambers. Doctors may refer to it as arrhythmia because it causes an atypical heart rhythm.
There are many different types of PSVT. Some are more common in young people, while others are more common in older individuals.
Most people’s resting heart rate is
People may use supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) to refer to PSVT. Paroxysmal means that the event may happen from time to time.
In this article, we examine PSVT and its causes. We also look at the symptoms of PSVT and how doctors diagnose and treat the condition.
Episodes of PSVT can occur at
Some conditions that may lead to PSVT
- myocardial infarction, or heart attack
- cardiomyopathy, a disease that involves a weakened heart muscle
- pulmonary embolism
A PSVT heart may also result from the following conditions:
- Atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia: A type of atypical fast heart rhythm that is the most common cause of PSVT. It is not life threatening but could cause lightheadedness or fainting.
- Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome: This syndrome occurs when a person is born with an extra electrical pathway that affects their heartbeat. It is one of the most common causes of a fast heart rate in children. Those who have the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome do not usually have other cardiac problems.
- Atrial tachycardia: A fast heartbeat where electrical impulses originate from the atria. It is
most likelyto occur in people with structural heart disease or ischemic coronary artery disease but can also occur in hearts with a typical structure.
- chest tightness
- shortness of breath
- heart palpitations
A PSVT heartbeat could race to around
An office EKG may not help detect PSVT, as these episodes happen occasionally. That said, a doctor may recommend wearing a rhythm monitor that records a person’s heart rhythm as they go about their everyday life.
EKG monitors include the following:
- Holter monitor: This battery-operated device can monitor the heart’s rhythm for 48 hours or longer. According to the
AHA, a Holter monitor can help medical professionals check if the body responds well to treatment and determine the cause of a fast heart rate. The monitor can also tell if the heart is receiving enough oxygen.
- Event monitor: This device can be suitable for a slow or fast heart rate. The
AHAstates that event monitors can also tell if a pacemaker is working correctly. People may have to wear this recorder for up to 1 month. Doctors can then decide on a treatment plan or if a person needs more tests.
- Implantable loop recorder: Doctors place an implantable monitor beneath the skin that can record the heart’s activity for several years.
A cardiac ultrasound or EKG
Whether someone requires treatment depends on the type of PSVT they have. People may not require treatment if their symptoms are not severe and their PSVT episodes do not happen frequently.
If necessary, doctors may prescribe medications to treat the condition, such as hyperthyroidism, which is causing the PSVT episode. They may also prescribe beta-blockers to treat the symptoms of arrhythmia.
If PSVT episodes last only a few minutes, a person could try:
- reducing their caffeine and alcohol intake
- quitting smoking, if applicable
Catheter ablation, also known as cardiac ablation and radiofrequency ablation, is an option to treat PSVT episodes. During this procedure, doctors insert a tube into the heart to remove the tissues causing the heart to beat faster or slower than expected.
Catheter ablation may benefit those who cannot have medication or have an arrhythmia that originates from the heart’s upper chambers.
Doctors may perform a carotid massage by applying pressure on the neck’s artery to reset the heart’s signals. However, researchers from a
Medications that cardiologists may offer to slow the heart rate include:
- calcium channel blockers
Authors of an
One article states that paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, a type of PSVT, may increase the risk of stroke.
Additionally, anxiety may be one of the symptoms that people with PSVT develop.
People who have concerns about their heart health should speak with a doctor.
- shortness of breath
- pain or discomfort in the neck, jaw, or back
- lightheadedness or dizziness
- chest pain
A choking sensation, swollen ankles, or stomach pain may also indicate that an individual has heart disease.
Additionally, people with a high risk of developing arrhythmia may consider discussing preventive measures and possible treatment options with a cardiologist. The
- low or high blood sugar levels
PSVT refers to arrhythmias that cause the heart to beat faster than expected. Its symptoms may appear without warning.
It may be more common in individuals with anxiety, hyperthyroidism, or those who have had a heart attack.
It is important to consult a cardiologist for a checkup and discuss any risk factors and possible treatment options.