Difference Between AFib and SVT

There are two main types of arrhythmia or irregular heart rhythms. These are atrial fibrillation (AFib) and supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).


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AFib vs SVT

The difference between AFib and SVT is that AFib is the result of electrical impulses in the atria that are out of control. This causes them to contract too fast, which is why it’s known as an irregular heart rhythm. With SVT, on the other hand, there are extra electrical signals sent from above the ventricles (the lower chambers) or below that interfere with their proper function. In this case, the heart’s chambers will contract too quickly.

AFib vs SVT

Atrial fibrillation, also known as ‘AFib,’ is one of those types of heart rhythms. With this condition, the upper chambers are sending electrical signals to them at an extremely high rate.

It’s often called supraventricular tachycardia because the heart beats so quickly that there are extra waves of electrical activity above and below the ventricles (the lower chambers), which receive blood from your body before sending them to your lungs.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAFibSVT
Full formAtrial fibrillationSupraventricular tachycardia
TreatmentMedication, but ablation if the patient does not follow up with their doctor’s recommendations and continues to have problems.Ablation is only necessary if the patient does not respond to medication or other treatment options.
EKG (Electrocardiogram)Irregularly shaped (irregular) rhythm in the EKG, usually with a fast heart rate.Regular but faster than normal heartbeat when not treated.
Risk FactorsOlder age, family history of heart disease or stroke, high blood pressure or diabetes.Rare cases can be associated with structural defects like holes between the upper chambers (atrial septal defect/ASD).
SymptomsIt may or may not present with symptoms.Palpitations that are rapid, forceful and irregular; dizziness; fatigue.

What is AFib?

AFib, on the other hand, is when both the atria and ventricles beat outside of their normal rhythm. This causes blood to pool in the heart’s chambers and can lead to a stroke or congestive heart failure if it persists untreated for too long.

It can be difficult for doctors to detect and monitor irregular heartbeats because they may not always notice symptoms such as fatigue or shortness of breath that often occur with abnormal heartbeats.

This condition can lead to blood clots and strokes if left untreated, but it is often treated with medication that manages symptoms over time.

Some patients who suffer from AFib also have chronic kidney disease or coronary disease, and these conditions increase the risk of stroke.

What is SVT?

SVT, or supraventricular tachycardia, is a type of rapid heartbeat that originates in the upper chambers of the heart.

This condition usually starts with an ectopic beat – one that comes from somewhere other than one of your natural pacemaker sites within either ventricle.

It typically occurs in people between the ages of 40 and 60, although it can also happen to younger adults or children as well.

SVT is caused by abnormal electrical signals that cause a rapid heartbeat because one chamber becomes too excited when contracting while another does not work properly at all.

SVT is a dangerous heart condition that needs immediate attention from medical professionals. It can lead to other health issues such as blood clots or strokes if medications do not work properly over time.

Main Differences Between AFib and SVT

  1. AFib may lead to other health issues such as blood clots or strokes if medications do not work properly over time, while SVT can be treated with medicine.
  2. AFib may occur if the electrical signals in your heart are out of sync, while SVT occurs due to a problem with your nervous system.


  1. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/circoutcomes.114.001263
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0741521498702332
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