Question: What is AV node reentrant tachycardia, and what is the best way to treat this?
Answer :AV node reentrant tachycardia refers to an electrical short circuit in the center of the heart. It often occurs in people who otherwise have a normal heart. Because of the short circuit, instead of the normal activation of heart from top to bottom in an orderly and timely manner, an extra impulse starts to race around the short circuit so that the heartbeat may abruptly increase to 120, even over 200 beats per minute. Typically, people describe a sudden onset of irregular, rapid heartbeat. People may have symptoms of chest pain, lightheadedness or dizziness. While it is rarely life threatening, it may feel as if you have a life-threatening condition, because your heart is beating so quickly.
If the heart takes off racing with AV node reentrant tachycardia, often bearing down, which changes the balance in the internal nervous system, may stop the heart rhythm. Splashing ice water on your face or other maneuvers, such as rubbing the neck, may also stop the fast heartbeat. If the spells are very infrequent, there may not be a specific treatment necessary other than these maneuvers. However, if they become more frequent and more bothersome, then there are a number of treatment options, which can include medications or catheter ablation. In catheter ablation, a thin wire or catheter is threaded up to the heart, under x-ray guidance, in a person who's generally lightly sedated. The site of the abnormal rhythm is identified, and then electrical energy is delivered through the catheter to cauterize, or zap, the abnormal area, treating it. The cure rate with catheter ablation is generally in excess of 96 percent, so many young people opt to have that procedure done rather than take medications, but it's purely a lifestyle choice for the individual who has the fast heartbeats.