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SVT(?) in children

Posted by Lydia on May 05, 1999 at 00:11:41
My 5 year old daughter has just been diagnosed with SVT by our family physician.  Her heart rate ranges from 50 to 195 beats per minute on a "normal" day (as recorded with the holter monitor).  We also suspect she has atrial fib because her heart rate is not only fast, but irregular at times.  There is a strong family history of atrial fib (her father, paternal uncle, paternal aunt) so we understand the mechanics of atrial fib.  Can you help me understand the relationship between atrial fib and SVT.  She has been referred to a pediatric cardiologist for further evaluation, but I don't even know where to begin to ask questions.  Any help would be appreciated.

Posted by CCF CARDIO MD-APS on May 06, 1999 at 08:52:15
Dear Lydia,
Any tachycardia that originates in the upper chambers of the heart is called an SVT or supraventricular (above the ventricles,i.e. lower chambers of the heart) tachycardia, thus technically a.fib is an SVT.  Otherwise the two are not "related" as you ask.  
Things to ask the pediatric cardiologist are:
1.Is the rhythm life-threatening?
2.What are the different modes of treatment (medicines, procedures, etc.)?
3.Is there a potential cure? (there is cure for SVT in children old enough to undergo the procedure, however this is not the case for a.fib.)
AND whenever the doctor offers any treatment ask the for the potential risks and benefits so that you may compare them to say another treatment, or doing nothing at all.
Your daughter will likely need at least one procedure, i.e. an electrophysiology study that is very low risk and is invasive (involves placing catheters through the vein to the heart in order to map the electrical system of the heart such that the abnormal pathways or rhythms can be best understood/defined.
I hope you find this information useful. Information provided in the heart forum is for general
purposes only. Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies. Please feel free to
write back with additional questions. Good luck.
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call
1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at
www.ccf.org/heartcenter. The Heart Center website contains a directory of the cardiology staff that
can be used to select the physician best suited to address your cardiac problem.

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