Cardiology

AV Nodal Reentrant Tachycardia (AVNRT)

AVNRTThis is a heart rhythm problem where the heart rate can become abnormally — a fast type of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). The condition is related to a “short circuit” in the electrical wiring of the heart; it is in the region of the AV node (part of the normal electrical conduction system of the heart).

  • Episodes of fast heart rates tend to be brief, usually minutes in duration. 
  • Generally not dangerous (this will not cause a cardiac arrest), but certainly can be associated with very bothersome symptoms
  • Can occur in patients of all ages
  • Not necessarily associated with other heart problems

Symptoms

  • Palpitations; perception of a fast or forceful heart beat
  • Chest discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness

Diagnostic Tests

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Treatment

  • Vagal maneuvers (bearing down, forceful coughing) can stop episodes of fast heartbeat
  • Medications that slow down the heart rate: beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, etc.
  • Radiofrequency ablation is most often curative. The procedure involves essentially cauterizing inside the heart at the site of the “short circuit”, and is part of an electrophysiologic (EP) study.

 

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