Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

Amelia Heart & Vascular Center is a respected leader in vascular medicine serving the Northern Virginia area.

Supraventricular tachycardia is when the heart beats at an abnormally fast rate. Tachycardia is when the heart beats over 100 beats per minute. Most people that have episodes of tachycardia live healthy without any problems.


Supraventricular tachycardia episodes can sometimes be directly related to a trigger like stress, lack of sleep or physical activity. Other times there is no trigger. Things that can cause an episode include

  • Heart failure
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Consuming too much caffeine
  • Drug use
  • Surgery
  • Certain health conditions


Supraventricular tachycardia becomes a problem when it occurs frequently especially if the patient has existing heart condition or other medical problems. Symptoms of supraventricular tachycardia include

  • Fluttering in the chest
  • Rapid heartbeats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness of dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Pounding sensation in the neck
  • Fainting or near fainting

Imaging and Diagnostics:

There are many ways for the doctor to diagnose supraventricular tachycardia. Below are tests that the doctor may ask the patient to make a proper diagnosis

  • Electrocardiogram
  • Echocardiogram
  • Holter monitor
  • Stress test
  • Zio monitor


Most people that experience supraventricular tachycardia do not need medical attention, however, frequent episodes may require treatment. The doctor may suggest the following

  • Medication
  • Cardioversion
  • Catheter ablation

Lifestyle Changes:

In addition to treatments, the doctor may suggest some lifestyle changes. These include

  • Eat healthy foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control
  • Drink alcohol in moderation