Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia (PSVT) (cont.)

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How can paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) be prevented?

PSVT can result because of underlying medical conditions or because of foods and medications that are ingested. Caffeine, alcohol, and over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine can stimulate and irritate the heart's electrical conduction system and precipitate an episode of PSVT. Decreasing or avoiding use of these chemicals completely may prevent PSVT. Electrolytes abnormalities can cause heart electrical irritability. Abnormal thyroid levels can also precipitate abnormal heart rhythms.

Medications can be used to minimize the recurrence of PSVT, including calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, or other antiarrhythmic medications.

If PSVT continues to recur, an electrophysiologic study (EPS) can be done by a cardiologist and the electrical system of the heart can be mapped. If abnormal tracts or short circuits are found, they can be ablated or destroyed with high frequency radio waves and hopefully, prevent future episodes of PSVT. This is often a highly effective modality for patients with recurrent episodes who don't wish to have to take long-term medication.


Tintinalli, Judith E., et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th edition. McGraw-Hill Education, 2011.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/29/2014

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