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Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is an abnormally fast heartbeat. It’s a general term that includes many types of heart arrhythmias.

A normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute. A heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute is called a tachycardia. Heart rates over 100 beats per minute that occur above the ventricles in the atria are known as supraventricular tachycardia.

Things that may lead to SVT 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

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of supraventricular tachycardia may include:

  • A fluttering in your chest
  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Sweating
  • A pounding sensation in the neck
  • Syncope or near fainting


To diagnose supraventricular tachycardia, a Deborah Specialty Physician will test for conditions that may trigger SVT, such as heart disease or a problem with the thyroid gland. The doctor may also perform tests specific to arrhythmia, including:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Holter monitor
  • Event monitor
  • Echocardiogram
  • Implantable loop recorder