Supraventricular tachycardia involves repetitive episodes of faster work of the heart, which start in the heart atria.

Supraventricular tachycardia is a type of arrhythmia caused damage of electrical structures that regulate the heart pace. During such attacks, which can last up to several hours, the heart beats faster than normally, but it beats in proper rhythm. The heart rate may be from 140-180 beats per minute, or higher.

In a normal work of the heart, each beat is caused by an electrical impulse that starts from the sino-atrial node (natural pacemaker), located in the right atrium (one of the two atria). The impulse comes to the second node, the atrium-ventricular one, which transfers it further to the chambers. In supraventricular tachycardia, the sino-atrial node does not control the heartbeats. This problem may occur due to an abnormality on the electrical pathway, and therefore the impulse circulates continuously between the atrio-ventricular node and the two chambers, or, a new area of cells has formed that emits “pacemaker” impulses.

It occurs most frequently in children and adolescents, although it can appear at any age.



The causes of supraventricular tachycardia

  • Too much alcohol
  • Exerted strain
  • too much caffeine
  • inherited abnormality



The symptoms of supraventricular tachycardia are usually sudden. They last for a few seconds to several hours. These are:

  • heart palpitations (feeling of irregular, quite fast or hard beating)
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • chest or neck pain

In rare cases, a long attack of supraventricular tachycardia may cause drop of the blood pressure, which can be life-threatening.


Risk Factors

The risk factors of supraventricular tachycardia are:

  • inherited abnormality
  • Too much alcohol
  • Exerted strain
  • Too much caffeine



The complications from supraventricular tachycardia may arise due to the sudden occurrence of the symptoms. Therefore, it has to be urgently treated.

The complications can be: frequent fainting, or in worst cases, sudden death.



The best prevention of supraventricular tachycardia is to lead a healthy life, implying healthy food, regular exercise, healthy weight, moderate alcohol and caffeine, and regular check-up of blood pressure and cholesterol.

Supraventricular tachycardia can not be prevented if it is congenital, however, further treatments may prevent recurrent episodes of supraventricular tachycardia.