The rapid heart rate of supraventricular tachycardia usually starts and ends abruptly. It can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. It is usually felt as an uncomfortable palpitation of the heart, but can also include other symptoms, such as:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Typically, the heart is otherwise normal.
Causes and Risk Factors
Supraventricular tachycardia may be caused by an abnormality, such as having:
- Abnormally rapid impulses generated in the atria. This uncommon condition is called paroxysmal atrial tachycardia.
- An abnormal electrical pathway between the upper chambers of the heart and the lower chambers called an accessory pathway or bypass tract.1
- Two electrical pathways in the atrioventricular node
Young people are more likely than older people to experience supraventricular tachycardia.