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Bouveret-Hoffmann syndrome


Paroxysmal tachycardia, or Bouveret-Hoffmann syndrome is a term used to refer to junctional tachycardia. It is a rapid heartbeat that originates neither from the atria nor the ventricles, but rather from a node responsible for the propagation of electrical impulses of the heart. It is manifested by an increased heart rate, palpitations with early and abrupt end, and mainly affects young patients. Two mechanisms may be involved in the occurrence of this symptom and in both cases, there is an abnormality in the rise of the electrical impulses that trigger the heartbeat.


Symptoms of paroxysmal tachycardia are:
  • sudden cardiac acceleration that occurs from a few minutes to several hours, and that stops as quickly as it begins;
  • an unpleasant sensation of palpitations;
  • occasional malaise;
  • syncope may occur in some cases.


The diagnosis of paroxysmal tachycardia is made upon the description of symptoms by the patient. This phenomenon being of punctual occurrence (hence its name: paroxysmal tachycardia), it is rare that it can be seen directly by the physician. In some cases where the patient is seen in an emergency, an electrocardiogram will be performed and highlight a heart rate that is regular but significantly increased from 100 to 150 beats per minute.


Junctional tachycardia usually heals itself spontaneously after a few hours at most. At the time of crisis, it can also be stopped using techniques called "vagal maneuvers" or with a drug, striadyne. As for the basic treatment of the disease, it makes use of medications such as beta-blockers or antiarrhythmics. In some cases, destruction of the abnormal pathway using radiofrequency ablation can be effective.

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