- Reviewed by Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
A nasal spray containing the experimental drug etripamil can quickly and effectively treat an abnormally fast heart rhythm called supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), according to a new study.
Caused by an electrical misfire that overrides the heart's natural pacemaker, SVT occurs sporadically and can lead to heart rates as high as 180 to 200 beats per minute. While it may resolve on its own, SVT may persist and make people dizzy or lightheaded. Coughing or gagging sometimes helps, but people usually need to go to an emergency room for an injection of a drug to slow the heart.
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About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
About the Reviewer
Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
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