Supraventricular Tachycardia

Supraventricular arrhythmias are tachycardias (fast heart rates) that start in the atria or the atrioventricular (AV) node. The AV node is a group of cells located between the atria and the ventricles.

Types of supraventricular arrhythmias include atrial fibrillation (AF), atrial flutter, and paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), which includes atrial tachycardia, AV nodal reentry, and Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome.

Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia

PSVT is a very fast heart rate that begins and ends suddenly. PSVT occurs due to problems with the electrical connection between the atria and the ventricles.

In PSVT, electrical signals that begin in the atria and travel to the ventricles can reenter the atria, causing extra heartbeats. This type of arrhythmia usually isn't dangerous and tends to occur in young people. It can happen during vigorous exercise. The most common type of PSVT is AV nodal re-entry, a condition in which there are 2 pathways leading from the upper chamber, or atria to the lower chamber, or ventricles. One pathway is called the fast pathway, the other, the slow pathway.

Another, somewhat less common, type of PSVT is called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. WPW syndrome is a condition in which the heart's electrical signals travel along an extra pathway from the atria to the ventricles.

This extra pathway disrupts the timing of the heart's electrical signals and can cause the ventricles to beat very fast. This type of arrhythmia can be life threatening.

Atrial tachycardia, a condition in which a single focus in either the right or left upper chamber can fire rapidly and independently of the sinus node, is another form of PSVT.

Information provided by National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

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  Atrial fibrillation
  Supraventricular tachycardia
  Ventricular tachycardia
  Sudden cardiac death prevention
  Sudden cardiac arrest
  Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
  Heart arrhythmias
  Heart rhythm disturbances
  Congestive heart failure