Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is the most common arrhythmia in neonates and infants, and pharmacological therapy is recommended to prevent recurrent episodes.
This retrospective study aims to describe and analyze the practice patterns, effectiveness, and outcome of drug therapy for SVT in patients within the first year of life.
Among the 67 patients analyzed, 48 presented with atrioventricular re-entrant tachycardia, 18 with focal atrial, and one with atrioventricular nodal re-entrant. Fetal tachycardia was reported in 27%.
Antiarrhythmic treatment consisted of beta-receptor blocking agents in 42 patients, propafenone in 20, amiodarone in 20, and digoxin in 5.
Arrhythmia control was achieved with single drug therapy in 70% of the patients, 21% needed dual therapy, and 6% triple.
Propafenone was discontinued in 7 infants due to widening of the QRS complex. After 12 months (6–60), 75% of surviving patients were tachycardia-free and discontinued prophylactic treatment.
Patients with fetal tachycardia had a significantly higher risk of persistent tachycardia (p: 0.007). Prophylactic antiarrhythmic medication for SVT in infancy is safe and well tolerated.
Arrhythmia control is often achieved with single medication, and after cessation, most patients are free of arrhythmias.
Infants with SVT and a history of fetal tachycardia are more prone to suffer from persistent SVT and relapses after cessation of prophylactic antiarrhythmic medication than infants with the first episode of SVT after birth.