About paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia(psvt)

What is paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia(psvt)?

Tachycardia is when your heart beats faster than normal, even when you’re not doing anything. Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) is when your fast heartbeat starts in the upper, or supraventricular, chambers of the heart. It’s also known as supraventricular tachycardia. PSVT is most common in younger people, especially women. 

What are the symptoms for paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia(psvt)?

The main symptom is a faster pulse for no clear reason. In adults, that typically means a racing heart between 120 and 230 beats per minute. It starts and stops suddenly. Other symptoms include:

  • Trouble catching your breath
  • General tiredness
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

Even though PSVT doesn’t seem to lead to serious long-term health issues, you should still talk to your doctor. These symptoms could be signs of another health problem.

What are the causes for paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia(psvt)?

Cells in the upper chambers of your heart send out an electrical signal. Sometimes the signal messes up and keeps going around in a circle. This leads to a speeding heartbeat, or PSVT. Doctors don’t always know why PSVT happens. It may be because of genetic issues with your heart tissue or electrical signaling. Certain things can trigger your symptoms, like:

  • A weakening heart muscle (heart failure)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Illegal drug use such as cocaine or methamphetamine
  • Prescription medication like asthma drugs and over-the-counter cold and allergy drugs
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

What are the treatments for paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia(psvt)?

The doctor may suggest a “wait and see” approach if your symptoms aren’t causing major problems. Try to avoid triggers like nicotine, alcohol, or caffeine. Exercise and eating well can help keep your heart strong.

At-home treatments. The doctor can show you movements that may help lower your pulse during an episode. They include:

  • Dive reflex. This is when you quickly put your face into water, especially cold water.
  • Valsalva maneuver. This is kind of like straining during a bowel movement: You attempt to push air out of your lungs while you block the flow at your throat or nose.
  • Carotid sinus massage. This is gentle pressure on your neck, where the carotid artery splits into two branches.
  • Eyeball massage. You press gently on your eyes while they’re closed.

Medication. Your doctor may prescribe drugs like ivabradine, beta-blockers, or calcium channel blockers to lower your pulse.

Catheter ablation. If your symptoms don’t get better, your doctor might suggest a procedure called catheter ablation. It’s also known as radiofrequency ablation. This is when doctors use small radio waves to destroy a tiny bit of heart tissue in the area that might trigger your PSVT. It takes 2 to 4 hours. You usually go home the same day.

Catheter ablation is typically safe. But like any invasive procedure, it does have some risks that you should discuss with your doctor.

What are the risk factors for paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia(psvt)?

PSVT affects about 1 in every 2,500 children. It is the most frequent abnormal heart rhythm in newborns and infants. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW) is the most common type of PSVT in children and infants.

PSVT is more common in adults under age 65. Adults over age 65 are more likely to have atrial fibrillation (AFib).

In a normal heart, the sinus node directs electrical signals through a specific pathway. This regulates the frequency of your heartbeats. An extra pathway, often present in supraventricular tachycardia, can lead to the abnormally fast heartbeat of PSVT.

There are certain medications that make PSVT more likely. For example, when taken in large doses, the heart medication digitalis (digoxin) can lead to episodes of PSVT. The following actions can also increase your risk of having an episode of PSVT:

  • ingesting caffeine
  • ingesting alcohol
  • smoking
  • using illegal drugs
  • taking certain allergy and cough medications

Read more: Digitalis toxicity: The deadly potential of digitalis »

Is there a cure/medications for paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia(psvt)?

The arrhythmia known as paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) is a particular kind of irregular cardiac rhythm. It happens when the upper chamber of the heart experiences a short circuit rhythm. This causes a heartbeat that is regular but fast and starts and stops suddenly. What happens during PSVT? An electrical impulse from the sinus node, a tiny region in the right atrium of the heart, initiates a typical heartbeat (upper chamber). A short circuit, or faulty electrical channel made of cardiac cells, causes PSVT by allowing electricity to circulate quickly in a circle and repeatedly repeat a signal. The outcome is a fast contraction of the chambers, which can impede heart function and result in symptoms like dizziness or shortness of breath. The main cause of PSVT is atrioventricular nodal re-entrant tachycardia (AVNRT). The "gate" that transfers electricity from the upper chambers (atria) to the lower chambers, the AV node, experiences this phenomenon when a tiny additional channel is present there or nearby (ventricles). An abrupt (paroxysmal), fast heartbeat will occur in both the atria and ventricles when an electrical impulse enters this channel. Although AVNRT is not a life-threatening arrhythmia, it might result in symptoms including dizziness or syncope (fainting). Medication for paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia: Treatment is usually not necessary for those who have supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). However, if you experience protracted or repeated bouts, your doctor may suggest the following: Massage of the carotid sinus: A medical professional gently squeezes the area of the neck where the carotid artery divides into two branches. The body generates molecules during this kind of massage that lower heart rate. Don't try to massage your carotid sinuses on your own. Vagal techniques: Coughing, leaning forward as if having a bowel movement, applying an ice pack to the face, and other straightforward but precise actions can all assist lower heart rate. During an episode of SVT, your healthcare practitioner can instruct you to carry out these tasks.

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