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Supraventricular tachycardia in children: AV reentrant tachycardia (including WPW) and AV nodal reentrant tachycardia

Anne M Dubin, MD
Section Editor
John K Triedman, MD
Deputy Editor
Carrie Armsby, MD, MPH


Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) can be defined as an abnormally rapid heart rhythm originating above the ventricles, often (but not always) with a narrow QRS complex; it conventionally excludes atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation [1]. The two most common forms of SVT in children are atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia (AVRT), including the Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, and atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT).

SVT in children including the clinical features and diagnosis of AVRT and AVNRT will be reviewed here. The causes of atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation are discussed separately. (See "Epidemiology of and risk factors for atrial fibrillation" and "Overview of atrial flutter".)


The prevalence of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is not well defined, but is estimated to be between 1 in 250 and 25,000 children, and is the most common rhythm disturbance in children [2,3]. SVT occurs more frequently among patients with underlying congenital or acquired heart disease [4,5]; however, the majority of patients presenting with SVT have structurally normal hearts.  

The two most common forms of SVT in children are:

Atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia (AVRT), including the Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome (see 'AV reentrant tachycardia' below)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 07, 2017.
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