Symptoms and
Diagnosis of PSVT

Symptoms

Symptoms most often start and stop suddenly. During an episode, they can last for a few minutes or several hours. Symptoms may include:1

Some patients complain of fatigue after episodes that can last days. Additionally, patients report feelings of anxiety or uncertainty between episodes which can be quite limiting.2

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) is based upon interpretation of the electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) during a PSVT episode. However, due to the transitory nature of PSVT, a diagnosis can be difficult to confirm because the episode may resolve before the patient can present for medical care. New technological developments with portable cardiac monitors are expected to facilitate the diagnosis of PSVT by allowing ECG measures to be taken in the outpatient setting when a PSVT episode arises.

“I was finally diagnosed with PSVT after multiple emergency room (ER) visits where episodes would stop prior to examination. I went to an ER and they caught it on the EKG.”

45-54 year-old female patient living with PSVT

Depending on the frequency of episodes, PSVT may be challenging to diagnose. Symptoms due to unrecognized PSVT are sometimes ascribed to psychiatric conditions such as panic attacks.

Furthermore, research has shown women are subject to gender bias when pursuing a diagnosis for heart arrhythmias, such as PSVT. and often struggle to be believed by their healthcare providers. On average, PSVT is misdiagnosed in women twice as frequently as men, meaning they’re enduring two times as long without answers.3

References

    1. Al-Zaiti, S.S. Crit Care Nurs Clin North Am. 2016;28(3): 309-316.
    2. Wood, K.A. Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2007;6(4):293-302.
    3. Wood, K.A. Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2007;6(4):293-302.