Supraventricular tachycardia during pediatric anesthesia: A case series and qualitative analysis

Chad C. Cripe, Akash R. Patel, Scott D. Markowitz, Tiffany S. Behringer, Ronald S. Litman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Study Objective: To perform a qualitative analysis of noncardiac patients who developed suspected intraoperative supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) during general anesthesia. Design: Retrospective database analysis and chart review. Setting: Operating room of a university-affiliated children's hospital. Measurements: The records of children without cardiac disease who received general anesthesia at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia from July 1998 through June 2011 were reviewed. Patients with heart rate values above 180 beats per minute were identified, as were specific medications or key words in the free-text fields of the anesthesia records that would be indicative of a tachyarrhythmia. Each case was reviewed by at least two authors; each patient was assigned a diagnosis classification of "highly suspicious" or "unlikely" SVT. The highly suspicious SVT cases were examined in detail to determine the specific aims. Main Results: 36 subjects out of a total of 285,353 anesthetics administered during the study period were suspected by the anesthesia care team to have had an episode of intraoperative SVT: 22 were "highly suspicious" events, and 14 were "unlikely" events. The highly suspicious SVT events occurred in all phases of anesthesia, and none led to any hemodynamic instability. Effective treatments included vagal maneuvers, pharmacologic antiarrhythmics, or no treatment if the event resolved spontaneously before treatment. Six patients had outpatient follow-up and three received antiarrhythmic medications to control ongoing SVT. Conclusions: SVT during the intraoperative period in noncardiac pediatric patients was uncommon. When it occurred, it was not associated with clinically significant patient morbidity. For some patients, the anesthesia unmasked a predisposition for re-entrant SVT and those patients remained on maintenance antiarrhythmic therapy following discharge home.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-263
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of clinical anesthesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Adenosine
  • anesthesia complications
  • desflurane
  • pediatric anesthesia
  • sevoflurane
  • tachycardia supraventricular
  • vagus nerve stimulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Supraventricular tachycardia during pediatric anesthesia: A case series and qualitative analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this