Heart and Blood Conditions

Supraventricular Tachycardia Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of Supraventricular Tachycardia

Children with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) may feel like their heart is racing or pounding. If their heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to their brain, they may feel lightheaded or dizzy. Rarely, children with SVT have no symptoms.

Infants and very young children may not be able to communicate symptoms of SVT. But, in some cases, a caregiver might notice a racing heartbeat.

Supraventricular Tachycardia Diagnosis

To diagnose this condition, your doctor will examine your child, check their heartbeat and use a stethoscope to listen to their heart. The doctor will ask for details about any symptoms your child has, their health history and your family health history.

To learn about the electrical activity (rhythm) in your child’s heart, the doctor will use an electrocardiogram (ECG). If an abnormal heartbeat does not happen during this test, your child may need to wear a portable rhythm-monitoring device at home. A device called a Holter monitor can record your child’s heart’s activity for 24 hours. Another device, called an event recorder, can be turned on by your child when they feel a problem with their heart rhythm. SVT that tends to happen only once in a while can be hard to diagnose.

To get more information about how your child’s heart looks and works, they may need other tests, like a chest X-ray, exercise testing or an echocardiogram. A rhythm specialist (pediatric electrophysiologist), may also use electrophysiology studies to help detect the cause of a child’s abnormal rhythm (arrhythmia) and decide which treatment to use.

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.