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BET 2: Ice water immersion, other vagal manoeuvres or adenosine for SVT in children
  1. Marion Campbell,
  2. Silvia Ruiz Buitrago
  1. Hairmyres Hospital, NHS Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK


A short cut review was carried out to establish whether a vagal manoeuvre was better than or as good as adenosine at safely terminating supraventricular tachycardia in children. Forty unique papers were found in Medline and Embase using the reported searches, of which five were relevant. A hand search of the forty unique citations identified a further nine relevant papers. Thus, 14 papers presented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. The author, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes, results and study weaknesses of these best papers are tabulated. It is concluded that the evidence on the management of SVT in children is made up of poor-quality retrospective cohort studies or case series. This best evidence shows that ice water to the face appears to be a safe, quick, effective and non-invasive treatment for paediatric SVT. Adenosine also appears safe and effective, but is more invasive. Valsalva and carotid sinus massage are less effective.

  • emergency care systems

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.