Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

A to Z: Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia (PSVT)

Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) is a type of arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) in which the heart beats very rapidly (about 160–220 times per minute). PSVT starts in heart tissue above the ventricles, and occurs in sudden episodes that can last minutes or hours.

More to Know

PSVT can be the result of another heart condition but is most often caused by abnormal electrical pathways in the heart. It is most common among young people and infants.

In addition to heart palpitations, or feeling like the heart is racing, symptoms of PSVT may include shortness of breath, anxiety, chest pain, rapid pulse, dizziness, or fainting.

Smoking and the use of alcohol, caffeine, and drugs increase the risk for PSVT.

To slow down the heartbeat, people with PSVT can try splashing ice water on their face, coughing while leaning over, and straining as if having a bowel movement (Valsalva maneuver). If symptoms are severe or the episode lasts more than 20 minutes, emergency treatment such as drug injections or electrical shock may be necessary.

Long-term solutions for people with recurring PSVT can include a procedure called cardiac ablation, medications, pacemakers, or even surgery.

Keep in Mind

While PSVT can be scary and uncomfortable, it usually isn't considered dangerous for people with otherwise healthy hearts.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.