Heart Disease Expert Forum
SVT or VT?
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SVT or VT?

Can you please tell me the difference between SVT and VT?  Is SVT less risky than VT?  Have heart deaths in every generation of father's side of family.  Father died at 43 y/o from heart attack.  I'm trying to get all the facts so this fear/anxiety will go AWAY!  Thanks.
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Dear rgirl,

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a fast heart rate that is starting in the atrium or upper chambers of the heart.  Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) is a fast heart rate starting from the lower chambers of the heart.  In general SVT is less serious than VT although both may require treatment.  SVTs are usually treated with either medication or an ablation.  An ablation is an outpatient catheter procedure done to cure an arrhythmia.  In an individual with a normal heart VT is treated with medication or an ablation.  In someone with heart disease VT usually requires an electrical study and implantation of a difibrillator (ICD) if the study is positive.
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I am not a doctor, but I bet they will tell you VT is a lot bigger problem SVT, especially if it is sustained VT.   VT can lead to V Fib which is often fatal.  VT is a fast rate originating in the lower chambers of the heart, while SVT comes from the upper part of the heart.  Of course, some people with normal hearts may have unsustained VT only lasting a few beats.  

Steve
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My thanks to the Doctor and to surething for your assistance.  My remaining concern is this:  if untreated, does SVT usually/sometimes become VT?  Also, exactly what are the risks involved in not treating SVT's?  I HATE these medications--I feel lousy and cannot imagine taking digoxin and verapamil for the rest of my life.  Any more information you can provide will be greatly appreciated.  I do have one more test to go...cardiolite stress.  Perhaps at that point (8/31) my own doctor will have more time to explain things to me, but until then I am doing my best not to worry.  Thanks again-Merci.
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