What is it?

Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is an abnormally fast or unstable heartbeat, affecting the upper chambers of the heart. Tachycardia is a condition in which the heart beats more than 100 times per minute. During an SVT episode, the heart rate is between 150-220 beats per minute, sometimes slower or faster. Usually, episodes of SVT are not life threatening, unless there is another cardiac condition. SVT is caused due to incoordination of the electrical signals in the heart. It could be triggered by exercise, stress and lack of sleep. Risk factors may include coronary artery disease, different heart conditions, congenital heart disease, thyroid problems, certain drugs and supplements, anxiety, diabetes, physical fatigue, nicotine and amphetamine use.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Junctional ectopic tachycardia
- His bundle tachycardia

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms include a fast heart beat, palpitations, pounding sensation in the neck, fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating and fainting or near fainting. In infants symptoms may also include pale skin, sweating while eating, and poor feeding.


Diagnosis of SVT is based upon medical history, physical examination, ECG, holter monitor, echocardiogram, and implantable loop recorder under the chest skin. Other tests may include stress test, tilt table test, and electrophysiological testing and mapping.


Usually, SVT does not require treatment. In other cases people can treat themselves during an episode by carotid sinus massage and vagal maneuvers (such as holding the breath). If these don’t help, medications, cardioversion, catheter ablation and pacemaker may be recommended.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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