Supraventricular Arrhythmias

What are Supraventricular Arrhythmias?

Supraventricular arrhythmias (SVAs) are abnormal heart rhythms that can occur due to faulty parts in the electrical system that controls the heart. These arrhythmias can cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or erratically. In most cases, SVAs may not cause any symptoms and usually do not require medical attention. However, some people may experience symptoms that can include dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, palpitations, and chest pain.

Types of Supraventricular Arrhythmias

There are several types of SVAs that can affect the heart. They include the following:

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Atrial flutter
  • Multifocal atrial tachycardia
  • Atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT)
  • Atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT)
  • Wolf-Parkinson-White Syndrome

Causes of Supraventricular Arrhythmias

SVAs are caused by abnormalities in the electrical system of the heart. These abnormalities can be a result of:

  • Electrical circuits that can cause the heart to beat too quickly
  • Imbalances in the electrolyte levels
  • Heart infections or inflammation
  • Structural abnormalities in the heart such as a heart defect or an enlarged heart
  • Certain medications
  • Caffeine, alcohol, and/or nicotine use
  • A family history of SVAs

Treatments for Supraventricular Arrhythmias

In cases where SVAs do not cause any symptoms, they may be left untreated. However, if the arrhythmias cause symptoms, then treatment is necessary. Treatment may include medications that can help regulate the heart rhythm or lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the electrical system of the heart.