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Supraventricular Tachycardia

 

Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

SVT is a broad term for a number of tachyarrhythmias that originate above the ventricular electrical conduction system (purkinje fibers).

Classic Paroxysmal SVT has a narrow QRS complex & has a very regular rhythm. Inverted P waves are sometimes seen after the QRS complex. These are called retrograde p waves

Supraventricular Tachycardia EKG Rhythm Strip

The heart fills during diastole, and diastole is normally 2/3 the cardiac cycle. A rapid heart rate will significantly reduce the time which the ventricles have to fill. The reduced filling time results in a smaller amount of blood ejected from the heart during systole. The end result is a drop in cardiac output & hypotension.

With the drop in cardiac output, a patient may experience the following symptoms. These symptoms occur more frequently with a heart rate >150 beats per minute:

  • Shortness of air (S)
  • Palpitation feeling in chest (S)
  • Ongoing chest pain (U)
  • Dizziness (S)
  • Rapid breathing (S)
  • Loss of consciousness (U)
  • Numbness of body parts (S)

The pathway of choice for SVT in the tachycardia algorithm is based on whether the patient is stable or unstable. The symptoms listed above that would indicate the patient is unstable are noted with the letter (U). Stable but serious symptoms are indicated with the letter (S).

Unstable patients with SVT and a pulse are always treated with cardioversion

Below is a short video which will help you quickly identify supraventricular tachycardia on a monitor.
Please allow several seconds for the video to load.


  87 Responses to “Supraventricular Tachycardia”

  1. How can you tell the difference between SVT and Atrial Tachycardia? The strip I have has a rate of 180, regular rate, distinguishable P waves. I say SVT but it’s Atrial Tach?

    • Atrial tachycardia is a form of SVT. Atrial tachycardia means that the tachycardia originates in the atria but not from the SA node.

      When describing a tachycardia that originates in the atria but outside of the sinus note, another term used is supraventricular. Thus, atrial tachycardia is essentially the same thing as SVT.

      Kind regards,
      Jeff

    • Svt = a rate > 150 bpm

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