Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia (CPVT)

What is CPVT?

Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) is an inherited cardiac condition that causes sudden rhythm disturbances, called arrhythmias, in otherwise healthy children. These abnormal rhythms most often occur at times of high adrenaline levels, such as during exercise or strong emotion.

CPVT is a rare disorder that affects about one in 10,000 people. Left untreated, CPVT may cause the heart to stop beating.


What are the symptoms of CPVT?

The arrhythmias typically occur during exercise or emotional stress. It can cause a rapid heartbeat (palpitations), fainting (syncope) or cardiac arrest.

What are the causes of CPVT?

CPVT is caused by a change in the genetic code for a particular cardiac protein that causes it to leak calcium into the heart. The extra calcium affects the heart’s electrical system, causing extra heartbeats from the lower chambers of the heart.

How we care for CPVT

The cardiologists at Boston Children’s Hospital have years of experience treating CPVT, as well as other types of complex arrhythmias. The Inherited Cardiac Arrhythmia Program at Boston Children’s specializes in family-based services for children with CPVT, including counseling.

The Family Arrhythmia Clinic meets with and assesses entire families all at once, usually in one day. Our specialists use clinical and genetic testing to identify if any family member is at risk of developing the condition.