What Is Supraventricular Tachycardia and What Causes It?

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Definition Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), also called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, is defined as an abnormally fast heartbeat. It's a broad term that includes many forms of heart rhythm problems (heart arrhythmias) that originate above the ventricles (supraventricular) in the atria or AV node. There are different types of supraventricular tachycardia:
  • Atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT).
  • Atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT).
  • Atrial tachycardia.
  • Sinus tachycardia
  • Inappropriate sinus tachycardia (IST)
  • Multifocal atrial tachycardia (MAT)
  • Junctional ectopic tachycardia (JET)
  • Nonparoxysmal junctional tachycardia (NPJT)
Causes The causes of supraventricular tachycardia may include:
  • Heart failure
  • Thyroid disease
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Consuming too much caffeine
  • Drug use, such as cocaine and methamphetamines
  • Certain medications, including asthma medications and over-the-counter cold and allergy drugs
  • Surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain health conditions, such as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
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