Supraventricular Tachycardias

Supraventricular tachycardias or SVTs are abnormal, fast heart rhythms that start in the upper chambers of the heart (the atria). Several types can happen one at a time or all at once. Some of the issues that may be associated with SVTs:

  • Fast heart rates. Fast heart rates decrease the heart’s ability to pump blood out to the body. This can cause symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath, fatigue, exercise intolerance and chest discomfort. It also can cause the heart muscle to weaken over time (heart failure).
  • Short or long durations. Some supraventricular arrhythmias can come and go (paroxysmal). They can last longer, requiring treatment to convert them back to the normal rhythm (persistent). They can be present all the time and never return to the normal heart rhythm (permanent).
  • Increased risk of stroke. During some of these rhythms (such as atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter), blood does not move out of the atria as it should. This may cause blood clots to form in the atria, which may float upstream and block a blood vessel (artery) in the brain, causing a stroke.

With the right treatment, we can control or cure the supraventricular tachycardia and reduce the risk of a stroke.

Patient education – video links


Patient education – narrative information

Rapid heartbeats
Información en español

Five Types of Supraventricular Tachycardia:

  1. Atrial Fibrillation
  2. Atrial Flutter
  3. Atrial Tachycardia
  4. AV Reentrant Tachycardia
  5. AV Node Reentrant Tachycardia