PSVT stands for paroxysmal (which means sudden onset), supraventricular (coming from above the ventricles) tachycardia (rate greater than 100); PAT stands for paroxysmal atrial (originating in the atria) tachycardia; SVT stands for supraventricular tachycardia. The only difference between PSVT and SVT is that the onset of the PSVT can be seen as in the example above. In PATs, the origin of the rapid beats is clearly in the atria whereas in PSVTs and SVTs, a strict determination cannot be made. The duration of these rhythms can vary greatly from a minimum of 4 beats (the minimum number of consecutive beats for it to be classified a SVT) to many hours in duration.
The above rhythm would be described as a PSVT since no P waves can be seen. The first beat is a normal beat with the second beat being the beginning of the PSVT at a rate of 205-225 beats per minute.
Patients may describe their symptoms as rapid beats, palpitations or flutters and patients may experience lightheadedness, dizziness, SOB, chest pain or anxiety.
These rhythms are not generally life threatening, although emergency medical attention may be required depending on the specific circumstances. Emergency treatment can be as simple as a doctor supervised patient maneuver to stop the rhythm, the administration of medications or cardioversion.
If episodes are short and infrequent, no treatment may be necessary. If patients have significant or frequent symptoms, the use of medications or an ablation may be indicated.