SVT, or supraventricular tachycardia, is a type of irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia) that occurs when the heart’s normally steady beat is affected by a rhythm issue that causes it to accelerate to a very rapid pace. Paul Z. Gerczuk, M.D., a cardiac electrophysiologist who practices at FMC Cardiology — Electrophysiology, is specifically trained to treat SVT and other arrhythmias using the latest and most advanced techniques and technologies.
SVT refers to a series of rapid heartbeats that begin in or involve the upper chambers (atria) of the heart, causing the heart to beat inefficiently. As a result, the body may receive an inadequate supply of blood. While SVT does not always produce symptoms that require treatment, some patients experience heart palpitations, fatigue, lightheadedness, fainting, chest pains, or shortness of breath.
Dr. Gerczuk may recommend treatment for SVT, such as a regimen of heart rhythm medications, if the condition produces discomfort. For a patient who does not want to take medications, or for whom medications have proven to be ineffective, a clinical procedure called ablation may be an option. When performing minimally invasive SVT ablation, Dr. Gerczuk will generally:
- Insert a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into a vein in the groin or neck, then carefully guide the catheter through the vein and into the heart
- Use electrodes at the tip of the catheter to send electrical impulses and record the heart’s electrical activity
- Review the recorded data and, based on this information, determine the best place to apply the SVT ablation treatment
- Transmit electrical energy (radiofrequency ablation) or cold (cryoablation) to the targeted area of the heart to create scar tissue, which can block stray electrical signals
Ultimately, the goal of SVT ablation is to restore a normal heart rhythm and, in turn, alleviate the symptoms of the condition. In certain cases, this treatment can be very effective; however, it is not appropriate for every patient. Before determining whether to recommend ablation, medications, or any other combination of treatment options, Dr. Gerczuk thoroughly examines, listens to, talks with, and gets to know each patient.
Dr. Gerczuk finds the practice of cardiac electrophysiology — which involves a combination of surgery, pharmacology, and old-fashioned bedside manner — to be very rewarding. He takes great pride in helping his patients achieve optimal outcomes and quality of life.
If you’d like to learn more, contact FMC Cardiology — Electrophysiology.
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