Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)
What is Supraventricular Tachycardia?
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) is an abnormally fast heart rhythm resulting from abnormal electrical fibers in the heart. When a patient develops SVT they often suffer from palpitations, dizziness or even fainting. Although these symptoms are disturbing, SVT is generally not life-threatening.
There are 3 common types of SVT. They are atrio-ventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT), atrio-ventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT), and atrial tachycardia (AT). The diagnosis is made with an EKG or an event monitor. The treatment may include medications or even ablation. Ablation is usually curative.
Treatment options include either medication or radio-frequency catheter ablation.
What is An ablation?
Catheter ablation is a procedure where Dr. Ahuja uses heat to remove the abnormal electrical cells in your heart that are causing your SVT. The procedure is relatively safe and highly effective (almost always curative). Dr. Ahuja will discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives of using medications versus an ablation for your specific type of SVT.
You must have been fasting that day, and Dr. Ahuja will review pre-operative instructions and medications with you before the procedure. The ablation takes place in a special room called an electrophysiology (EP) lab while you are mildly sedated. The room is similar to an operating room. Nurses and anesthesiology will introduce themselves, and prep you for the procedure. After your groin area is prepared and cleaned under sterile conditions, mild conscious sedation and local anesthesia will be given near groin area. Dr. Ahuja will insert 3-4 small wires called catheters through the veins in your groins, and pass them into different chambers of your heart. These catheters will both send and record electric signals to and from the heart and record its electrical activity.
Then, Dr. Ahuja uses these signals to figure out where an arrhythmia is coming from so he knows where to perform the ablation in the heart. Rarely the ablation is not performed because your specific arrhythmia may be better treated with medications or may be coming from critical areas of the heart where ablation would be considered “risky.” After the procedure begins, it usually lasts about two hours.
Recovery from surgery is relatively quick. Almost all patients can go home the next morning after spending one night in the hospital for observation. Dr. Ahuja reviews all post-operative instructions and appointments after the procedure.