Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia
(PSVT; Supraventricular Tachycardia)
How to Say It: Par-ocks-ee-mal Soo-pra-ventricular tacky-cardia
by Amy Scholten, MPH
Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) is an abnormal fast heartbeat. It begins and ends suddenly. The heart may beat as fast as 160 to 280 beats per minute.
If it happens a lot and is not treated, it may weaken the heart.
PSVT is caused by abnormal signals in the heart.
PSVT is more common in women. It is also most common in those over 65 years old. However, it can happen at any age. Other things that raise the risk are:
Symptoms of PSVT may be:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. Diagnosis may be based on symptoms.
Tests may be ordered to find the cause. They may include:
The goal is to slow the fast heartbeats. To do this, the doctor may advise:
An adenosine injection may also be given—to slow the heartbeats.
If these methods do not work, other options are:
There are not guidelines to prevent PSVT.
American Heart Association
Heart Rhythm Society
Canadian Heart Rhythm Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Kotadia ID, Williams SE, et al. Supraventricular tachycardia: an overview of diagnosis and management. Clin Med (Lond). 2020;20(1):43-47.
Superventricular tachycardia. Cedars Sinai website. Available at: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/s/supraventricular-tachycardia.html. Accessed September 13, 2021.
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/supraventricular-tachycardia-svt. Accessed September 13, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Nicole Meregian, PA
Last Updated: 9/13/2021