Supraventricular arrhythmias can cause uncomfortable symptoms for patients. Often, the first point of contact is in the primary care setting, and thus, it is imperative for the general internist to have a clinical framework in place to recognize this cluster of cardiac arrhythmias, be familiar with immediate and long-term management of supraventricular tachycardias, and understand when cardiac electrophysiologic consultation is necessary. The electrocardiographic characteristics can have subtle but important clues to the diagnosis and initial management. An understanding of the mechanisms of these arrhythmias is essential to provide proper therapy to the patient. In addition, there are common practice strategies that should be emphasized to avoid common misperceptions that could pose risk to the patient. In this review, we provide a framework to more easily recognize and classify these arrhythmias. We also illustrate the mechanism for these arrhythmias to provide an understanding of the interventions generally used.
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