What are the Common Supraventricular (Top-Chamber) Tachycardias?

This is the fifth podcast in the What are Palpitations? series and it focuses on what are the most common supraventricular (top-chamber) tachycardias (SVT). We will be discussing a variety of the more common SVT seen in clinical practice and clinical scenarios are used to introduce the listener to these types of arrhythmias.  A brief outline includes:

  1. Premature atrial contractions
  2. AV-node reentrant tachycardia
  3. AV reentrant tachycardia
  4. Atrial tachycardia
  5. Atrial flutter
  6. Atrial fibrillation (will be discussed in great detail in podcast 6)
Electrocardiograms of Common Arrhythmias. Panel A, shows normal sinus rhythm, which is the heart’s baseline rhythm; the tall, narrow spikes are the QRS complexes. Panel B shows what a supraventricular tachycardia (in this case, atrioventricular nodal tachycardia) looks like; notice how narrow the QRS complex is. Panel C shows atrial fibrillation with the very irregular-appearing QRS complexes. Panel D shows ventricular tachycardia; note the very wide QRS complexes, especially when compared to the narrow QRS complexes after the VT stops. The main difference between SVT and VT is the wide QRS complexes, but some SVTs may have wide QRS complexes (this is called aberrancy). Panel E shows atrial flutter, which has a “sawtooth” appearance of the baseline between QRS complexes. Atrial flutter is treated using the same techniques and medicines as those for atrial fibrillation.

Please check back with the Heart Rhythm Center for future podcasts to include:

  • What Is Atrial Fibrillation?
  • What Are the Common Ventricular (Bottom-Chamber) Tachycardias?
  • Treatment Options for Arrhythmias
  • The Electrophysiology Study and Ablation Procedure
  • Possible Complications of Electrophysiology Studies and Ablations
  • Postoperative Care after an EP Study (and possible ablation)
  • Psychosocial Impact of Arrhythmias

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