Supraventricular Tachycardia - Topic Overview
How is it treated?
Some SVTs don't cause
symptoms, and you may not need treatment. If you do have symptoms, your doctor
probably will recommend treatment.
To treat sudden episodes of
SVT, your doctor may:
- Prescribe a medicine to take when the SVT
- Show you how you can slow your heart rate on your own. You
may be able to do this by coughing, gagging, or putting your face in ice-cold
water. These are called vagal maneuvers.
If these treatments don't work, you may have to go to your
doctor's office or the emergency room. You may get a fast-acting medicine such
as adenosine or verapamil. If the SVT is serious, you may have
electrical cardioversion, which uses an electrical
current to reset the heart rhythm.
If you often have episodes of
SVT, you may need to:
- Take medicine every day to prevent the
episodes or slow your heart rate.
- Try catheter ablation. This
procedure destroys a tiny part of the heart that causes the problem.
What can you do at home to prevent SVT?
You can try some things at home to help prevent SVT by avoiding the things that trigger it.
- Limit or do not drink alcohol.
- Limit caffeine. Even
decaffeinated teas or coffee can cause SVT in some people.
- Avoid over-the-counter decongestants, herbal remedies, diet
pills, and "pep" pills.
- Don't use illegal drugs, such as cocaine,
ecstasy, or methamphetamine.
To find your triggers, keep a diary of your heart rate and
your symptoms. You might find, for example, that smoking or caffeine causes
your SVT episodes.