Skip to content

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Supraventricular Tachycardia - Exams and Tests

An exact diagnosis is important because the treatment you receive depends on the type of tachycardia you have. Supraventricular tachycardia can sometimes be diagnosed simply on the basis of a medical history and physical exam and a few simple tests. Tests that may be done to monitor your heart and diagnose the type of fast heart rate that you have include:

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG), which measures the electrical impulses in the heart. If an electrocardiogram is done while the fast heart rate is occurring, it often provides the most useful information.
  • Ambulatory electrocardiogram. A portable EKG, such as a Holter monitor, can record your heart rhythm on a continuous basis, usually over a 24-hour period. If your symptoms are infrequent, your doctor may use another type of ambulatory electrocardiogram called a cardiac event monitor. When you have symptoms, you activate the monitor, which records your heart rhythm.
  • Electrophysiology study. In this test, flexible wires are inserted into a vein, usually in the groin, and threaded into the heart. Electrodes at the end of the wires transmit information about the heart's electrical activity. Your doctor uses this information to see whether there is an extra electrical pathway inside the heart and, if so, where it is located. Catheter ablation can be done during this test to treat abnormal pathways and correct the supraventricular tachycardia.
  • Medicine trial. Giving certain medicines while you are experiencing a fast heart rate, and monitoring what happens, may sometimes help your doctor find out what type of fast heart rate problem you have.

After finding tachycardia, your doctor may need to search for its cause. The specific tests needed depend on the particular tachycardia. These tests may include:

Recommended Related to Heart Disease

Cardiac Stents Overview

Stents are small expandable tubes used to treat narrowed or weakened arteries in the body. In patients with coronary heart disease, caused by the buildup of plaque, stents are used to open narrowed arteries and help reduce symptoms such as chest pain (angina) or to help treat a heart attack. These types of stents are commonly called heart stents, but they're also referred to as cardiac stents or coronary stents. Usually made of metal mesh, heart stents are implanted in narrowed coronary arteries...

Read the Cardiac Stents Overview article > >

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    x-ray of human heart
    A visual guide.
    atrial fibrillation
    Symptoms and causes.
     
    heart rate graph
    10 things to never do.
    heart rate
    Get the facts.
     
    empty football helmet
    Article
    red wine
    Video
     
    eating blueberries
    Article
    Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
    Slideshow
     
    Inside A Heart Attack
    SLIDESHOW
    Omega 3 Sources
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Salt Shockers
    SLIDESHOW
    lowering blood pressure
    SLIDESHOW