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Your child may not need any treatment for supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). Often a fast heartbeat does not cause any problems.

But sometimes it keeps the heart from pumping the right amount of blood to the brain or other organs. This can be dangerous. Symptoms of SVT can also interfere with athletic activity and even everyday activities. So it’s important to have your child’s heart checked by a doctor who can offer treatment, if your child needs it.

Supraventricular Tachycardia Treatment Options

Your child may need treatment if they have SVT that causes symptoms, happens often or lasts for a while.

In some cases, doctors treat SVT first with medicines that correct the heart rate, like beta-blockers. If medicine does not control SVT well enough or the patient wants not to take medicine, doctors may perform an electrophysiology study to identify the exact type of SVT and perform an ablation. An ablation is a procedure that uses a catheter to destroy the tissue that causes the rapid heartbeat.

Read more about the treatment options we offer through our Arrhythmia Program.

New Treatments for Supraventricular Tachycardia

Traditionally, ablation procedures have been performed with a catheter that cauterized the abnormal tissue causing the arrhythmia. This uses energy called radiofrequency energy. A newer catheter uses an energy called cryoablation, which destroys the tissue by freezing it. This newer ablation technique appears to have a better safety profile. It also appears the abnormal tissue may be more likely to recover after cryoablation. Talk with your heart doctor about which energy type is best for your child.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

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Download Spring 2014 (PDF)