When your child has supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), it means that from time to time your child's heart beats very fast. This fast rhythm is caused by changes in the electrical system of the heart.
SVT is not life-threatening for most children. But it can cause symptoms. Your child may feel a fluttering in the chest (palpitations) and have a fast pulse. When the heart is beating fast, your child may feel anxious and light-headed, be short of breath, and feel some pain in the chest. In a baby, you may notice a fast heart rate while you hold or feed your child. If SVT continues in your baby, you may notice problems with feeding. Your baby may be fussy or look paler than usual.
Your doctor may prescribe medicines to help slow your child's heartbeat. He or she may also suggest that your child try vagal manoeuvre when having an episode of SVT. These are things, like bearing down, that might help slow your child's heart rate. Bearing down means that you try to breathe out with your stomach muscles but you don't let air out of your nose or mouth. Your child's doctor can show you and your child how to do vagal manoeuvres. The doctor may teach you to do them while lying on your back.
In some cases, either cardioversion treatment or a procedure called catheter ablation is done to stop SVT.
Your doctor may have your child wear a small electronic device for 1 or 2 days to monitor the heart. The device is called a Holter monitor.
Most children with SVT are able to enjoy their normal activities without restrictions.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
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Current as of: September 21, 2016
John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
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