What is the role of synchronized electrical cardioversion in the treatment of supraventricular tachycardias (SVTs)?

Updated: Nov 28, 2018
  • Author: Sean C Beinart, MD, MSc, FACC, FHRS; Chief Editor: Jose M Dizon, MD  more...
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Treatment strategies for other supraventricular tachycardias (SVTs) include the following:

  • At present, recurrent atrial flutter is usually permanently cured by radiofrequency catheter ablation. If the patient is hemodynamically unstable, then cardioversion can be used.

  • Anticoagulation is recommended if external cardioversion is used in the treatment of atrial flutter, in a similar approach to patients with atrial fibrillation requiring cardioversion. Although atrial flutter was once perceived to be a lower risk for left atrial thrombus than atrial fibrillation, more recent data suggest that the risk of blood clot formation is equivalent.

  • Other patients with SVT rarely require external cardioversion unless they are hemodynamically unstable.

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