Supraventricular tachycardia is usually treated if:
- You have symptoms such as dizziness, chest
pain, or fainting (syncope) that are caused by your fast heart
- Your episodes of fast heart rate are occurring more
frequently or do not revert to normal on their own.
Treatment for sudden-onset (acute) episodes
supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) start suddenly and
cause symptoms, you can try
vagal maneuvers—such as gagging, holding your breath and bearing down (Valsalva maneuver), immersing your face in ice-cold
water (diving reflex), or coughing. These
simple maneuvers stimulate the vagus nerve, which can slow conduction of
electrical impulses that control your heart rate. Your doctor will teach you
how to do vagal maneuvers safely.
Your doctor may also
prescribe a short-acting medicine that you can take by mouth if vagal maneuvers
don't work. This allows some people to manage their SVT without having to visit
the emergency room repeatedly.
If your heart rate cannot be slowed
using vagal maneuvers, you may have to go to your doctor's office or the
emergency room, where a fast-acting medicine such as adenosine can
be given. If the arrhythmia does not stop and symptoms are severe,
electrical cardioversion, which uses an electrical
current to reset the heart rhythm, may be needed.
Ongoing treatment of recurring supraventricular tachycardia
If you have recurring episodes of
supraventricular tachycardia, you may need to take
medicines, either on an as-needed basis or daily. Medicine treatment typically
calcium channel blockers, other
antiarrhythmic medicines, or
digoxin. In people who have frequent episodes, treatment
with medicines can decrease recurrences. But these medicines may have side
Many people with supraventricular tachycardia have a
catheter ablation. This procedure can stop the rhythm problem in most people. Ablation is considered safe, but it has some rare, serious risks.
- Supraventricular Tachycardia: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?