What is the best treatment for supraventricular tachycardia?
There are 2 forms of supraventricular tachycardia treatment:
Acute treatment to terminate the event when it occurs. Top tips include:-
- Blowing against a closed mouth and nose – as if you were trying to “pop” your ears when descending in an aeroplane to “equalise” ear pressures.
If you have never been on a plane, then the motion is something like straining hard or bearing down – for example when trying to defecate – pushing down hard to increase the abdominal pressure.
On the release of this manoeuvre (also known as a Valsalva manoeuvre), the SVT can stop.
- Drinking an ice-cold glass of water
- Splashing cold water on your face
- Taking a pill-in-the-pocket approach of a calcium blocker (verapamil) or a beta-blocker (bisoprolol or metoprolol) – which your doctor may have prescribed.
Chronic treatment to prevent recurrence of SVT.
- The main treatment is an electrophysiological study and catheter ablation. This is a keyhole surgical approach that is performed through the groin which is usually >95% successful at curing the SVT problem permanently.
This procedure usually takes 1 to 1.5 hours.
- Drugs: These include drugs such as beta-blockers or calcium blockers. However, drugs may not fully cure the problem as the structures in the heart which allow the short circuit to develop continue to exist.
- Avoiding triggers – if you have clearly identifiable triggers, such as extreme fatigue, alcohol or caffeine, then avoidance of these may help minimize further episodes of SVT.