Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia: physiopathology and management

Paola Neroni, Giovanni Ottonello, Danila Manus, Alessandra Atzei, Elisabetta Trudu, Susanna Floris, Vassilios Fanos

Abstract


Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) is the most frequent arrhythmia in newborns and infants. Most supraventricular tachycardias affect structurally healthy hearts. Apart from occasional detection by parents, most tachycardias in this age group are revealed by heart failure signs, such as poor feeding, sweating and shortness of breath. The main symptom reported by school-age children is palpitations. The chronic tachycardia causes a secondary form of dilative cardiomyopathy. Treatment of acute episode usually has an excellent outcome. Vagal manoeuvres are effective in patients with atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia. Adenosine is the drug of choice at all ages for tachycardias involving the atrioventricular node. Its key advantage is its short half life and minimum or no negative inotropic effects. Verapamil is not indicated in newborns and children as it poses a high risk of electromechanical dissociation. Antiarrhythmic prophylaxis of PSVT recurrence is usually recommended in the first year of life, because the diagnosis of tachycardia may be delayed up to the appearance of symptoms. Digoxin can be administered in all forms of PSVT involving the atrioventricular node, except for patients with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome below one year of age. Patients with atrioventricular reentrant PSVT can be treated effectively by class Ic drugs, such as propaphenone and flecainide. Amiodarone has the greatest antiarrhythmic effect, but should be used with caution owing to the high incidence of side effects.

 

Proceedings of the 10th International Workshop on Neonatology · Cagliari (Italy) · October 22nd-25th, 2014 · The last ten years, the next ten years in Neonatology

Guest Editors: Vassilios Fanos, Michele Mussap, Gavino Faa, Apostolos Papageorgiou


Keywords


supraventricular tachycardia; neonates; antiarrhythmic drug; treatment

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