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Atrioventricular Reentry Tachycardia

The heartbeat is controlled by the electrical system of the heart. This system is made up of several parts that tell the muscle of the heart when to contract. The SA node starts the heartbeat, causing the atria, or upper chambers of the heart, to contract. The signal then travels through the AV node, bundle of His, bundle branches, and Purkinje fibers. This causes the ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart, to contract. The flow of electrical signals produces a normal heartbeat. Normal heartbeats can be seen in an Electrocardiogram or ECG.

Atrioventricular Reentry Tachycardia is a type of heart arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. In AVRT, extra electrical signals enter the heart’s upper chambers, or atria, by an abnormal electrical pathway. This causes multiple electrical signals, resulting in a fast heartbeat, or tachycardia. Irregular heartbeats can be seen in an Electrocardiogram or ECG.

AVRT can be congenital, or present at birth, but the symptoms can appear at any time. More women than men are diagnosed with AVRT. Treatment for AVRT includes medication, and an ablation procedure is often necessary.

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Visit Heart Rhythm Society for more information.