Adenosine is used in the hospital to try to restore a normal heart rate and rhythm when you are having an episode of supraventricular tachycardia.
Adenosine is always given by a doctor while you are hooked up to a heart monitor. It is given through a vein (intravenous, or IV). Adenosine works very quickly and lasts only a short period of time (less than 1 minute).
Adenosine may be used to diagnose tachycardia or to help find the location of the fast heart rate.
How Well It Works
Adenosine can slow or stop a rapid heart rate if the problem is caused by an abnormal electrical pathway in the heart.1 Adenosine will not work if the fast heart rate has a different cause. Adenosine may only slow your heart rate for a short time if you also have atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.
Adenosine is given in a hospital. Your doctor will watch you closely for any side effects.
Possible side effects include:
Skin flushing in the face.
Shortness of breath.
Chest pain or pressure.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Adenosine is a quick-acting, short-term therapy intended to convert the fast heart rhythm of a supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) back to a normal rate.
Drugs for cardiac arrhythmias (2007). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 5(58): 51–58.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.