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Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

SVT is a broad term for a number of tachyarrhythmias that originate above the
ventricular electrical conduction system (purkinje fibers).

Classic Paroxysmal SVT has a narrow QRS complex & has a very regular rhythm.
Inverted P waves are sometimes seen after the QRS complex. These are called
retrograde p waves

The heart fills during diastole, and diastole is normally 2/3 the cardiac cycle. A rapid
heart rate will significantly reduce the time which the ventricles have to fill. The reduced
filling time results in a smaller amount of blood ejected from the heart during systole. The
end result is a drop in cardiac output & hypotension.

With the drop in cardiac output, a patient may experience the following symptoms. These
symptoms occur more frequently with a heart rate >150 beats per minute:

Shortness of air (S)

Palpitation feeling in chest (S)
Ongoing chest pain (U)
Dizziness (S)
Rapid breathing (S)
Loss of consciousness (U)
Numbness of body parts (S)
The pathway of choice for SVT in the tachycardia algorithm is based on whether the
patient is stable or unstable. The symptoms listed above that would indicate the patient
is unstable are noted with the letter (U). Stable but serious symptoms are indicated with
the letter (S).

Unstable patients with SVT and a pulse are always treated with cardioversion