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Afib vs. SVT
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Afib vs. SVT

Is it possible to tell the difference between SVT and Afib just by the way it feels?  (Without being hooked up to a monitor at the time).  Yesterday I had the familiar feeling where my heart takes off, but it was literally for about three seconds, then it went back to normal.  Not sure if a-fib can happen in a quick burst like that.  Anyone?
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Avatar_n_tn
The characteristic pattern of A-fib is described as "irregularly irregular", meaning there is no pattern to the beats...it will alternate between slow and fast with no rhyme or reason.  SVT, on the other hand, is usually more regular.   usually, A-fib doesn't happen in a quick burst.  SVT certainly can (I had a swallowing-induced SVT that was anywhere from 2-20 beats at a rate of anywhere from 180-220 BPM every time i swallowed).

I work in physical therapy, and i take my patient's pulses all the time.  Yes, it is possible to detect the difference without a monitor, but it takes some practice.

I hope this helps.

steph
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Avatar_n_tn
is a-fib more regular?  or is svt all over the place in rhythm?
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Avatar_m_tn
Don't you people with AF feel the atrium "trembling" durin an episode? This doesn't happen in SVT, so I imagined they symptoms would be more different than an impression of iregular beats.
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66068_tn?1365196781
Actually, afib is a type of svt. I think most of you mean sinus tachycardia when you use the term svt although AV nodal re-entrant tachycardia, and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome are svt's too.

I have afib quite a bit.  I don't feel any trembling during an episode except when I have runs of palps asociated with the afib,  The atria is fibrillating/vibrating 600 times a second.  I  doubt you would actually ever feel that. Usually, I feel nothing and am asymptomatic... just an irregular pulse when I take it. Others feel weak and dizzy. The rate is irregularly irregular. A normal sinus ryhthm doesn't vary by more than 10% over a minute, whereas with afib the timing between even individual pulses is random... 55 one minute, 120 the next, 75 the next, etc. With sinus tachy, on the other hand, the rate is high and steady (except for occasional palps). I imgagine it would be easy to differentiate by just taking the pulse. Though if it's a short burst, it would be hard to characterize without an ekg.
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Avatar_n_tn
va_tony did a nice job of explaining things.  please read his post.  A-fib is a form of "SVT" , as SVT stands for "supra (meaning above) ventricular tachycardia".  Any arrhythmia occuring above the ventricles is considered an SVT, including A-fib.  A-fib is a more specific type of arryhthmia, characterized by an IRREGULAR heartbeat.  There are some arrhythmias (like bigeminy, meaning 2, and trigeminy, meaning 3) in which the beats are "regularly irregular"...this means the arrhythmia has a predictable pattern.  There is NOTHING predictable about A-fib.  The atria are quivering or "fibrillating", and the poor ventricles are just trying to find a good time to contract some blood out into the body, making the pattern very irratic.  Patients are most symptomatic when the ventricles beating quickly (called a "rapid ventricular response"), which can be up over 150.

Hopes this explains things better.

steph
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the explanation...i was also just wondering if it was possible to get SVT and A-fib at the same time...like it will alternate between the two
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66068_tn?1365196781
Yes but again what do you mean by SVT?  My afib will sometimes change to aflutter or trigiminy before coverting back to normal sinus rhythm. The aflutter is a much faster rate like sinus tachy.
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Avatar_m_tn
I understand that Afib is a type of SVT, but I thought people usually assumed the concept of SVT as every arrhythmia in which the ventricle responds to the atrium at the same velocity. Just to simplify communication. Sorry for the confusion.

Now, speaking of different symptoms… If Afib is easily identified because of its irregular rhythms, then what would separate the symptoms of an Atrial Flutter – in which the rhythms are regular – from those of SVT (understood as I said above)?

I ask this because I had an ablation for Atrial Flutter, but before that I was always diagnosed with STV, having the possibility of being a Node Reentrance or ectopic atrial. I wonder if my first episode of Aflutter came during ablation or I had one already but assumed it was a SVT? I thought I would know the difference because of the atria trembling in Aflutter, but now I’m confused. I actually felt my heart fluttering for a few seconds sometimes before ablation, but if we can’t notice this trembling, then I must be wrong. Not that this makes any difference now, but I’m just curious.
Maybe the symptoms are very similar. Not only the symptoms, but the electrocardiogram it self? Six months after ablation, I showed to a doctor my stress test results in which I had an episode of the supposed SVT, and he said something about being an 1:1 Atrial Flutter. So it was a diverging opinion from everything I have heard before from many doctors.
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66068_tn?1365196781
"If Afib is easily identified because of its irregular rhythms, then what would separate the symptoms of an Atrial Flutter – in which the rhythms are regular – from those of SVT (understood as I said above)? "

I don't think you could tell just from the rhythm or symptoms. You would need to se it on the ekg.  The ekg patterns of aflutter and sinus tachycardia are very different.
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Avatar_n_tn
sorry I'm just confused to what svt is and if there is a difference between a-fib and svt...so svt is a form of a-fib because it happens above the ventricles
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170935_tn?1225374676
Hi, I too have svt and i believe it is triggered when i swallow. I had a failed ablation attempt as the docs couldn't trigger the svt.
Do you stll have svt?
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Avatar_n_tn
I saw your question on the other board, and answered there.  I have been fortunate enough to have been cured...it took 4 ablation attempts and someone willing to let me swallow in the table (high risk) to get it done.  see other post, and let me know if you have questions.

steph
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88793_tn?1290230777
I have both.  With the pacemaker is taking part there, I just know my chest like a garbage truck.... train stops all stations....  May be an express train will run a short journey!   Elephant wants a banana there as well!  Unbelievable!
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