Nonutility of Diagnostic Testing in Ambulatory Patients with Supraventricular Tachycardia

Rachel A. Taylor, Ronald Thomas, David Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is the most common arrhythmia in the pediatric population. Patients often present to the emergency department and undergo extensive diagnostic assessment. The objective of this study is to determine the frequency of diagnostic studies obtained in such patients and to assess clinical significance of these results. Methods A retrospective study was performed from 2011 to 2018 in a single-center ED, including patients 21 years of age or younger presenting with SVT without shock. Results A total of 40 patients with 92 encounters were included for analysis. The mean age was 8.58 (±5.51) years; 55% female. A total of 67.4% underwent serologic laboratory evaluation, of which 8 (12.9%) had any abnormality. Only one was deemed clinically significant to warrant intervention. Nearly 30% of patients underwent chest radiography, with no clinically significant findings. Conclusions Patients undergoing ED management of uncomplicated SVT are likely to undergo laboratory investigation and unlikely to have abnormal studies impacting their care. Given the associated risk of false-positive studies, the discomfort to the patient and parent, and cost of these studies, routine laboratory or radiographic investigation in this population may be unwarranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1036-E1040
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Radiography
  • Serology
  • Supraventricular tachycardia


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