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Treatment for Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia (CPVT) (Child)

Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) is a rare genetic condition. It causes a very serious abnormal heart rhythm that can result in fainting or sudden death.

Types of treatment

A cardiologist will treat your child’s CPVT. Treatment is done to help prevent and treat the abnormal heart rhythm. Treatment may include:

  • Lifestyle changes. A child with CPVT should not do rigorous exercise or competitive sports. These may cause episodes of CPVT.

  • Medicine. Most people with CPVT take a type of medicine called a beta-blocker. This medicine slows the heart rate and reduces the risk of abnormal heart rhythm. This works well for most people with CPVT. Other heart rhythm medicines may also be given.

  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). An ICD is a small device implanted within the body to detect and treat dangerous heart rhythms by automatically delivering an energy shock. This can restore normal heart rhythm within seconds.

  • Catheter ablation. Sometimes this may be needed. It's a procedure where the doctor inserts a flexible thin tube (catheter) through the blood vessels into the heart to stop (ablate) abnormal electrical channels (heartbeats).

  • Surgery. In some people with continued symptoms, surgery may be needed to remove the nerves that signal the heart to beat faster.

Living with CPVT

  • Your child will need to see his or her healthcare provider at least every 6 to 12 months. Your child’s heart will be checked with ECG and heart tests.

  • Talk with the healthcare provider about what kind of activity is safe for your child.

  • Tell all of your child’s healthcare providers that he or she has CPVT.

  • Tell family members to be checked for CPVT.

  • Talk with your healthcare provider about genetic counseling if you plan to get pregnant.

Keeping your child safe

Make sure that family, friends, and school staff know that your child has CPVT. They will need to know what to do if your child faints or can’t respond. They should know:

  • When to call 911

  • How to do CPR

  • How to use an automated external defibrillator (AED)

An AED can be used even if your child has an ICD. The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association offer CPR classes. The classes include the use of an AED.

When to call the healthcare provider

Call the healthcare provider right away if you notice a change in your child’s symptoms.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F., III, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Kang, Steven, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2018
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