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Supraventricular Tachycardia


  • Supraventricular (soo-prah-ven-TRIK-u-lar) tachycardia (tak-ee-KAHR-dee-ah), or SVT, is a condition where your heart beats much faster than it should. A normal heart rate in a person at rest is about 70 to 80 beats every minute. With SVT, your heart may beat 140 to 250 beats a minute. SVT usually comes and goes, and may last a few seconds to several days. If your SVT comes and goes, it is called paroxysmal (par-ok-SIZ-mal) supraventricular tachycardia, or PSVT.

  • When your heart is beating too fast, your blood may not be able to move well through your body. This may cause you to feel dizzy, short of breath, or sick to your stomach during episodes of SVT. Some people feel fine during SVT episodes. Problems that your SVT may cause may depend on how long the event lasts, what caused it, how fast your heart beats, and your general health. SVT may be treated with lifestyle changes, medicines, cardioversion, or an ablation procedure. Often, SVT does not need treatment.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.

  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Living with SVT:

  • Keep a record of your symptoms: Use a notebook or calendar to keep track of your SVT attacks. Write down when your SVT starts and stops, what you were doing when it started, and your symptoms. Record anything you ate or drank within a few hours of the start of your SVT attack. Write down how you were feeling before the SVT started. For example, were you stressed or tired? Write down anything that seemed to help your symptoms, such as lying down or holding your breath. This record will help you learn what may trigger your SVT. Bring this record with you when you see your caregiver.

  • Control other health problems: If you have other illnesses like diabetes, thyroid problems, or high blood pressure, you need to control them. Take medicines as directed.

  • Diet: Eat a healthy variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, breads, dairy products, and protein (meat, beans, and fish). Eating healthy foods may help you feel better and have more energy. Talk to your caregiver about a weight loss plan if you are overweight. Weighing too much can make your heart work harder and can cause serious health problems.

  • Exercise: Exercise makes the heart stronger, lowers blood pressure, and helps keep you healthy. Begin to exercise slowly and do more as you get stronger. Talk with your healthcare provider before you start an exercise program.

  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information about how to stop smoking if you need help.

  • Manage your stress: Stress may slow healing and lead to illness. Learn ways to control stress, such as relaxation, deep breathing, and music. Talk to someone about things that upset you.

For more information:

Contact the following for more information about SVT:

  • American Heart Association
    7272 Greenville Avenue
    Dallas , TX 75231-4596
    Phone: 1- 800 - 242-8721
    Web Address:
  • Heart Rhythm Society
    1400 K Street NW, Ste 500
    Washington , DC 20005
    Phone: 1- 202 - 464-3400
    Web Address:


  • You are having new symptoms that your caregiver does not know about, or your SVT gets worse.

  • You have problems that you think may be caused by your medicine.

  • You have trouble breathing while resting.

  • You have new or worsening swelling in your feet or ankles.

  • You have any questions or concerns about your illness or medicine.


Call 9-1-1 or 0 (operator) to get to the nearest hospital or clinic if you have any of the following symptoms. Do not drive yourself.
  • Chest pain, tightness, or pressure that lasts more than a minute or two. The discomfort may spread to your shoulders, arms, jaw, neck, or back. The discomfort may be a burning that feels like heartburn.

  • Feeling very short of breath.

  • Feeling faint, or too dizzy to stand up.

  • Sudden onset of weakness or numbness in your arms or legs.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Supraventricular Tachycardia (Discharge Care)