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Atrioventricular (AV) Reciprocating Tachycardia

Atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT) occurs when there is an extra electrical pathway linking the upper (atria) and lower (ventricles) chambers of the heart. It is a type of supraventricular tachycardia.

Normally, the AV node is the only tissue that conducts electrical impulses between the upper and lower chambers of the heart: all electrical impulses must go through the AV node to reach the lower chambers of the heart. In an atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia, electrical impulses travel one direction in the normal manner, down the AV node to the lower chambers (ventricles), but they then travel back up to the upper chambers (atria) through an abnormal, extra electrical pathway (accessory pathway) located outside the AV node.

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Medicines, such as beta-blockers or calcium channel blockers, may effectively treat this problem. In people for whom medicines do not work, or for those who do not wish to take medicine, catheter ablation is an option. Catheter ablation works for most patients with atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer John M. Miller, MD - Electrophysiology
Last Revised August 9, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 09, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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