A common surgical option for treatment of supraventricular tachycardia, or SVT, is catheter ablation. Doctors consider catheter ablation a safe and effective procedure for treatment of SVT and certain other types of heart rhythm disturbances, or arrhythmias, states Brigham and Women's Hospital. The procedure carefully eliminates the heart cells responsible for the arrhythmia, curing the arrhythmia or at least decreasing its intensity and frequency.
Prior to beginning the catheter ablation, the doctor gives the patient a sedative, says Brigham and Women's Hospital. After washing the groin and neck with antiseptic soap, the doctor uses a local anesthetic to numb the areas of the groin or neck chosen for insertion of the catheters. The doctor inserts the catheters and place them as close as possible to the site where the arrhythmia originates, then uses a radiofrequency current to cauterize and silence the cells behaving abnormally. The procedure commonly lasts three to four hours, and most patients go home from the hospital the same day.
The heart's electrical system sometimes experiences changes that cause episodes of arrhythmia, explains Brigham and Women's Hospital. When the heart beats too rapidly, it causes symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath, lightheadedness or dizziness, fatigue or fainting. The most common type of arrhythmia is SVT, a group of abnormal rhythms that originate in the upper chambers of the heart.