Submitted by Dr T on July 19, 2013 – 10:49am
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) is an arrhythmia that originates from above (“supra”) the ventricle. This term encompasses a large number of arrhythmias and therefore the term “SVT” is only a general description, not a specific diagnosis. Most commonly, however, it refers to one of 3 commons types of arrhythmias, AV Nodal Reentrant Tachycardia, Atrial Tachycardia, and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
Most SVTs can be treated with medications, but medications represent only a temporizing measure, not a cure. For children or young adults (and probably you as well), life-long therapy with medication(s) may not be reasonable. If one of these potentially dangerous arrhythmias is confirmed with an EP study, ablation is the only (but not always) curative treatment option for SVT. It works by selectively destroying the “extra nerve” via a minimally invasive procedure. However, I am not sure, that ablation should be recommended on the basis of an event monitor recording alone. I’d recommend a 2nd opinion with an EP specialized cardiologist first.
Also, remember that SVT (if true in your case) may be started because of certain triggers, which include caffeine, alcohol, some herbal medications, and some over-the-counter cold medications containing stimulants. Just because a large ice tea triggered an SVT attack, it does not mean that it caused the SVT. For, without the ice tea, the “extra nerve” is still present, just waiting for another trigger to cause another attack later.
An important question to ask before talking about treatment is whether you indeed have this ‘extra nerve’ in your heart and 2nd, how easy it would be to fix it. Despite what is often published not all ablations are truly a cure and occasionally they fail! Like all procedures, success is variable (including the expertise of your cardiologist)!
Hope this helps,