Supraventricular tachycardia: symptoms and treatment

Supraventricular tachycardia (NHT) causes episodes of a fast heartbeat. To prevent the development of symptoms NZHT can regular intake of medicines. Another treatment option in some cases is the destruction of tiny pieces of the heart that starts the episode NHT.

How the heart works?

The heart has 4 chambers – two Atria and two ventricles. The walls of these chambers are mainly composed of special heart muscle. Each contraction of the heart starts with a tiny electrical impulse generated by the sinus node. This site is a small pacemaker placed in the upper part of the right atrium. The electrical impulse spreads through the heart muscle and leads to its reduction.

First, an electrical impulse passes through the Atria. They contract and push blood into the ventricles. The impulse is slightly delayed at the atrioventricular node, then spreads to the ventricles, which contract and throw the blood into the arteries.

What is supraventricular tachycardia?

Tachycardia is a rapid heart beat. Supraventricular means that the source of electrical pulses is above the ventricles. During an episode of NZHT the heartbeat is not controlled by the sinus node. The other part of the heart overrides this pacemaker more frequent pulses. The source or trigger pulses at NZHT is somewhere above the ventricles, but the signal is then applied to them. There are three main types of NZHT – atrioventricular nodal tachycardia re-entry, atrial tachycardia or syndrome Wolff-Parkinson-white (WPW-syndrome).

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Tachycardia atrioventricular nodal re-entry

This is the most common type of NHT. It is often seen in people at a young age (20 – 30 years), more common in women. Tachycardia develops when the occurrence of an electric short in the heart center. It often occurs in people who generally have a normal heart. Instead of the normal activation of heart from top to bottom that is observed when the normal reduction, an extra impulse starts a circular motion (re-entry) in the myocardium surrounding the circuit, which leads to frequent palpitations and causes symptoms NHT.

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Atrial tachycardia

Atrial tachycardia is a less common type of NHT. It develops from a small region of tissue anywhere in the Atria. This area begins to produce pulses, leading to palpitations. In most cases, for the development of atrial tachycardia no reason. However, it can occur in people who have heart problems (eg, myocardial infarction, or problems with the heart valve).

WPW syndrome

In WPW syndrome between the Atria and ventricles there is an additional electrical connection (a secondary event). It occurs in 3 of 1000 people. In addition to the symptoms of NZHT, some patients may experience palpitations, which leads to severe dizziness and even loss of consciousness. Very rare in WPW syndrome, there is death.

It should be noted that the term «supraventricular tachycardia» is used only when the are observed more frequent and regular contractions of the heart. Another disease, which leads to a rapid, but irregular heartbeat and caused by pathological impulses from the Atria called atrial fibrillation.

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Who develops NHT?

In most cases, the first episode NHT develops in childhood or early adulthood. However, it can occur at any age. It is a rare disease but the exact number of affected people is unknown. Some triggers can increase the risk of episodes of NZHT, especially those people who already had them. These include:

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  • Medicines, including asthma medicines and cold.
  • Drinking large amounts of caffeine and alcohol.
  • Stress or emotional upset.
  • Smoking.

Avoidance of these triggers reduce the incidence of NHT.

What are the symptoms of NZHT?

The NZHT symptoms have lasted as much as the last episode of tachycardia a few seconds, minutes, hours, or longer. Possible symptoms:

  • Pulse rate is 140 – 200 per minute.
  • Palpitations.
  • Dizziness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Some discomfort in the chest.
  • NZHT can run stroke.
  • Sometimes the blood pressure is too frequently beating of the heart can decrease, especially if the NZHT attack lasts for several hours. This can cause fainting.
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The NZHT attack usually begins suddenly, without any apparent reason. Suddenly it ends.

What are the treatment options?

A NZHT seizures stop by themselves. Sometimes you can stop NZHT using a variety of methods, including the use of a glass of cold water, breath hold or place the person in cold water. However, if the attack NZHT lasts a long time or is severe, may need hospitalization to the hospital. To stop the tachycardia by using administering drugs or electrical cardioversion.

Preventing attacks NZHT

Measures aimed at preventing episodes of NZHT:

  • Drug therapy.
  • Destruction of tissue using a catheter (catheter ablation). A thin catheter is carried out through a large vessel in the chambers of the heart, the tip can destroy a tiny area of heart tissue that is the source of pathological electrical impulses.
  • If the NZHT attacks occur infrequently and last for a short time without causing symptoms, patients do not need treatment.