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Exercise-induced SVT
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Exercise-induced SVT

This condition sucks.  If (during exercise) I move just the right way or of my heart rate gets too high, all it takes is one PAC and I go into SVT.  This means I have to stop what I am doing, bear down, then go splash cold water on my face before I can resume what I was doing.  It always seems to happen when I'm really feeling my best, too.  Talk about a buzzkill!

Since the episodes are so short, usually less than 30 seconds, my cardiologist says they require no treatment and certainly not an EP.  The episodes vary from happening with nearly every workout to vanishing completely for months at a time.  I also have PACs and PVCs which are considered a "normal variant".  But GEEZ!  It would be so awesome if my heart would just stay in NSR and I didn't even have to THINK about it.

I'd like to talk to other exercise-induced SVT/PSVT sufferers.  I'm sure there are some of you here, this isn't uncommon.  I'd like to discuss strategies and helpful tips in managing this, what you've found helpful and what seems to tigger you.

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Avatar_m_tn
I'm right there with ya.  My problem is my episodes last 45 minutes to 2 hours.  I lock in and stay for awhile.  After a 4th ablation for SVT I developed left bundle block (rate induced). The meds I take reduce the LBBB rate to around 120.  To make things worse when the LBBB kicks in it triggers my SVT.  So now I treadmill with a rate monitor and have to stay below 115 or risk going into SVT (really sucks)  I could stop my med and the LBBB rate rises but then my pac's act up.  I give. It does vary.  About a month ago I was walking 2 miles a night and fealt so good I thought about starting to jog.  Lately I do good to walk the 2 miles and lift weights a little.  I'm athletic and was always in good shape.  I love the outdoors and now just taking the christmas lights off the house, climbing a ladder can throw me into SVT. (really sucks).  I'd be glad to talk strategies. I've tried a lot of things like you probably have.  There has to be a happy place.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm there with you guys.  Probably not as big a sufferer, but a big worrier.  Working on that,too.  Currently wearing a 2 week Holter to catch my exercise induced SVT.  I'm a coward, though.  I have not had an ablation yet.  The ice water (drinking it AND dunking my head in a sink of it!) usually does the trick as does the vagel maneuvers.  BUT, I'm racked with nerves afterward- every time!  I'm starting cognative behavioral therapy tomorrow to learn to curb these instantaneous, negative, catastrophic type thoughts from invading my mind when my SVT occurs.  Sometimes the SVT will precipitate into Afib.  Not fun.  Thinking of you both,

Amy
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Avatar_n_tn
I feel your frustration!!!  You describe my life for the past year.  It sucks big time - especially if being active is such an important part of your life.  I would go a few weeks feeling well and then, out of the blue, I'd get exercise induced SVT that would last for weeks.  Felt pretty good if I wasn't exerting myself but the minute I got my heart rate up, BAM!!!  It's not fun looking for things to brace yourself with so you don't pass out.

Had an ablation 11 days ago.  They told me my chances for a cure was 95%.  I'm surprised they haven't given you the option of at least seeing an EP specialist if your condition is adversely affecting your life.  The doctor also told me that without the ablation, I would have had the condition for the rest of my life.

Since my ablation, I've continued to have PVC's but have been able to run without stopping and not once has my heart raced nor have I felt faint.  Time will tell whether it's been a success but I'm staying optimistic.
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61536_tn?1340701763
tsco, what is the mechanism of your SVT?  FOUR ablations?  Man.  But yeah, I can do the treadmill as long as I keep a certain incline at a certain speed that I know is rate-safe for avoiding SVT.  I hate limitations, and it places a few on me.  I love being  and being active.

acjviolin, SVT used to set my nerves on edge too, but after 13 years of having it, it's just annoying now.  I think CBT will really help you, I think back when this started for me it would have been beneficial for myself as well.  I hope you find some relief, both from the SVT and the worry.

sueinns, I hope your ablation is successful!  You were passing out?  I usually feel just fine during the episode, though I feel a little weak in the legs immediately after.  I suspect that's due more to my having been working out vigorously and having to stop abruptly without a cooldown.  Are you having PVCs or PACs?  While PACs seem more likely, maybe not.  I have both.

Good to know I'm not alone in my frustrations, though I certainly wouldn't wish this on anyone.





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Avatar_m_tn
I am a challenge to the docs (evidently).  For some unknown reason I have some scar tissue close to the sinus node and my reentrant is confused within that scare tissue and is maybe too close to the node.  There are other spots in the right atrium they have ablated when I have gone back for touch-ups.  I guess they keep growing back.  I don't know how to explain it any better. I have some aflutter also.  I have only had right side ablation.  When I was younger my SVT was more persistent.  I went three months in SVT at 140 (controlled down to 140 by meds) until they could get me in Clevland Clinic.   Now it seems more frequent but breaks easier. I guess that's a good thing.
I have learned also to deal with the SVT, usually I lock in around 140 to 160.  I just kind of said screw it although sometimes depending on my mental state I feel panic for a while at the onset.  It hasn't killed me in 12 years so I guess like you all I have something that isn't going to kill me just cause me a pain in the a@#.  Anymore I find the PACs more alarming.  I don't know why but the ones here and there I can handle, but I have been stuck in bigenemy and I hate it.  It worries me like I don't  know what, and I don't know why.  
Sueinns I hope you continue to have great luck with your results, for life.

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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks anacyde and tsco:

I hope I do well too.  The PVC's used to always trigger the SVT but not since the ablation.  They have been bad the last couple of days but I'm really good at ignoring them. Mine go into trigeminy - I can keep tune with them (beat, beat, beat ....long pause.....beat, beat, beat and so on for hours on end).  

SVT is more common on the right side - mine was on the left so they had to poke a hole from the right to the left side when they did the ablation.  A wee bit more invasive but not uncommon.

I have never passed out but came close numerable times.  I had to hang onto something or sit down and take deep breaths.  It was always related to working out intensely and almost always right after I stopped.  This would last for weeks anytime I got my heart rate above a certain point.  Then, for no reason, stop and I'd feel normal again.  Try to explain that to anyone who can't relate.

Tsco - 4 ablations - wow - I cannot imagine how tough it has been for you.  It certainly takes our coping skills to a whole new level.
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Avatar_f_tn
Gosh,tsco!  Shut my mouth!  You are a tough fella.  Seriously,I'm so sorry for your condition.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for the help that you provide for all of us- very gracious of you.  Thanks also to anacyde and sueinns for your insight as well- Im very appreciative.  Thinking of all of you,
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh yes.....This can really get one down.  I am so obscessed about when it will happen next.  I have become reclusive.  I am also very active or use to be. I can relate to the bearing down and the splash cold water on the face.  I was told these would not kill me and an ablation was offered.  We need more techniques and a reason why this is happening...abnormal pathway?  Nutritional defeciencies? If they can put a man on the moon......is ablation the only soulution?  We are all together in this and stay hopeful!
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1130393_tn?1260174351
im 12 and ive got svt and m trying to make the disision whether to have the little operation or not is it safe
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Avatar_m_tn
I had my first SVT episode last June.  It just hit me without warning.  I am 42 years old, single mom, massage therapist for the last 12 years and own a thriving massage therapy business for the last six years. I have always prided myself on being a multi-tasker and able to take on a lot at one time.  Since my SVT has been diagnosed, those days are over.  I was on a calcium channel blocker (diltiazem 180 and then increased to 240) but was having lots of swelling and it did not control my SVT well at all.  My cardiologist changed my  meds to a beta blocker (metoprolol 25 x 2ce day).  He wants to do an ablation on me but I am chicken.  I have a client who has had 3 ablations and she still has SVT.  I am wondering if a pacemaker might be a better choice?  My plan is to continue my meds as long as I can until they no longer work and I have no other option but the ablation or pacemaker.   I am finding it difficult to continue my profession as a massage therapist as my movements can cause me to go into SVT (130's-140's) several times per day.  I had to go to the ER last week with a bad episode (heart rate 225) and have intervention to get it down.  I wear my heart monitor watch all the time now.  Feeling lots of panic too.  Wondering if it is time for me to change my career.......at 42!    Any thoughts?
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Avatar_f_tn
Holly there are more people like me out there.. This is stopping me form getting to my ideal weight.  Other then being over weight I am pretty healthly.  I eat healthy, get all my water and fruits and veggies everyday, keep my calories within 1200-1600 for the most part.  I work out 3-5 times a week sometimes for 2 hours.  
I have been to doctor after doctor had all the test you can think of that dont involve surgery.  My cardiologist put me on Metoprolol Tartrate  low low dose and it seems to help the severity of the episodes but not they happen during working out - bike ride specifically or anytime I do a treadmill work out that makes my heart go up and down.

has anyone found help or an answer for this what the f is it.
Lisa
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Avatar_f_tn
i'm 19 and i was "diagnosed" a year and a half ago. My attacks came on suddenly. I was involved in high intensity martial arts training for almost 8 years at that point, and suddenly i could barely walk up the stairs without running out of breath. my doctor didn't know what it was causing this, and the children's heart doctors wouldn't make a firm diagnosis about it. All of your stories have given me some great ways to deal with these episodes. I am starting yoga this summer and all of your stories are a great help.
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1398166_tn?1358874123
Go see an Electrophysiologist (cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythm).  19 is too young to deal with that for life.

There's a decent shot you can get this fixed.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
Yes, get to an electrophysiologist and see about getting it fixed.  Martial arts involve body movements, and abrupt internal pressure changes that are a playground for SVT. If you aspire to excell and be among the best in your chosen sport, I know from experience that SVT will prevent you from getting there.  Do yoga for spiritual insight and tranquility, not as a prevention for "exercise induced SVT".  Unlike yourself, I endured a lifetime because there was no cure.  You don't have to.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am 54 years of age. I took up cycling at 50, with anatural ability I even started veterans racing. I embarked on a regular training regime. Last year while training I had an SVT-242bpm!!! I've had about 5 episodes since. The fact that it happens during cycling is now very frustrating and even making me feel depressed. I eat a careful diet and avoid alcohol, really don't know what to do
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1423357_tn?1373023915
Hi Alex.  I got your message.  In my younger days, I competed in some criteriums, and a lot of track cycling.  I leaned more towards sprint cycling, becasue it was shorter distances than road cycling and because I lived near a velodrome. I cross trained with short track speed skating in the opposite season. I had a particular time with cycling as I think bearing down on the cranks caused me to perform inadvertent Valsalvas, and the abrupt change in blood pressure sometimes set it off.  I retired from cycling years ago following a bad crash in a local criterium where I was involved with a number of other riders.  Two surgeries later, I promised my wife I'd give it up.  I still skate, coaching, and racing in the Grand Master division; ie. really old guys.


242 is up there.  I varied from 210 to 260.  It was dependent on what I was doing at the time it started up,  Of course high respiration resulted in high rates.  As a kid of 6, I was hospitalized with a rate of 312 with had been going on for over 24 hours.  Fortunately, the hospital was able to slow it.  That was back in the mid 1950's before the modern drugs of today.

At 54, you should keep an eye on the number of events you are experiencing.  My cardiologist was concerned how my aging heart would respond to the high rates I was experiencing.  My events were about 3-5 times per month.  Many of these events were at rest, a phenomenon I observed as I got older; more at rest and less under physical stress.  Catheter ablation cured mine, and I'll celebrate 2 years free of SVT next week after having had it for 54 years.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi,

I've had intermittent SVT (or so I think as it's never been caught) since I was 18/19 regularly until I was 21 but I remember my first episode when I was about 13/14. What happens is, I can feel a skipped beat and then moments later my heart will unleash like h*ll going crazy and pounding away and then abruptly stop and be back to normal after 2-5 minutes.

It has destroyed my life, I was a semi-professional footballer, gym enthusiast...the lot. Very active.

However, I started getting panic attacks thinking I was going to suffer a cardiac arrest with these events. I shut up shop doing all things active and I am now 24 and have not had an episode in 3 years, purely because I have given up everything I loved which brought them on. I still suffer from anxiety, panic and depression and get serious panic attacks if I get tired and can feel my heart beating a little bit faster as I think I will suffer an attack.

My doctor won't give me an ablation because I don't get them that often and they have never caught them on tape, although I've had all the tests to try and catch it when it happens.

I am now agoraphobic too, I can't go on planes or on trains because I am "stuck" on them and if something happens I am not able to immediately seek help or attention.

It has completely ruined my life.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi,

I've had intermittent SVT (or so I think as it's never been caught) since I was 18/19 regularly until I was 21 but I remember my first episode when I was about 13/14. What happens is, I can feel a skipped beat and then moments later my heart will unleash like h*ll going crazy and pounding away and then abruptly stop and be back to normal after 2-5 minutes.

It has destroyed my life, I was a semi-professional footballer, gym enthusiast...the lot. Very active.

However, I started getting panic attacks thinking I was going to suffer a cardiac arrest with these events. I shut up shop doing all things active and I am now 24 and have not had an episode in 3 years, purely because I have given up everything I loved which brought them on. I still suffer from anxiety, panic and depression and get serious panic attacks if I get tired and can feel my heart beating a little bit faster as I think I will suffer an attack.

My doctor won't give me an ablation because I don't get them that often and they have never caught them on tape, although I've had all the tests to try and catch it when it happens.

I am now agoraphobic too, I can't go on planes or on trains because I am "stuck" on them and if something happens I am not able to immediately seek help or attention.

It has completely ruined my life.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi jgmajax,
I was a cross country runner and had to stop because I never knew when my heart would race. As I got older, playing all types of sports would trigger svt for me. I know how you feel! It's not fun. My advice is to see another cardiologist. I had an ablation done on 5/29 and I feel like a new person! I imagine there is a cardiologist out there who will get you in for an ablation. My cardiologist had to bug me for 10 years to get mine done. I wish I hadn't waited that long. Good luck and keep us posted!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi guys,

I wanted to chime in after dealing with the pain in the *** (and scary) episodes of exercise-induced SVT for almost two years. I was born with a heart murmur so it was initially suspected that this was adding to my problems. I had EKGs, failed a stress test then did a holter monitor, and finally had an echocardiogram done (where they found nothing abnormal).

In the end, it ended up being low ferritin that was causing my attacks. Ferritin is the storage of iron in your body. Since the range of "normal" is so vague (11-307 ng/mL), and most doctors seem to be skeptical that ferritin has anything to do with squat, many people's symptoms get overlooked.

My episodes started after 6 months of successfully completing P90x. They got so bad that I couldn't even do six minutes of cardio without having an attack. I started getting horrific fatigue.

Finally someone ordered a ferritin test and we saw that I had gone down to a ferritin level of 7. I could barely get out of bed, I was so tired and weak. I went to the ER and they took my blood and told me my hemoglobin looked great. (You can have a great hemoglobin and a very low ferritin).

After taking supplementation my numbers raised to 24. My heart murmur went from a grade 4 to a grade 1. This improved my workouts a bit (I could get to 150 on my heart rate monitor, versus 140, without an attack, but at 150 I'd get one again and shoot up over 200). Finally a new doctor agreed to an iron infusion. I went from 18 (my levels had dropped again) to 124.

I was able to run for the first time and BREATHE. (Because my muscles could breathe, and my heart didn't have to work so hard to get O2 to them!) And no SVT attacks. Not a one.

I just wanted to share this because it took me two years to figure out what was wrong with me and fix it even though I was told I might just have to live with this for the rest of my life. Request a ferritin test. If you are below 80, IT CAN - AND DOES - AFFECT YOUR DAY TO DAY LIFE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE ACTIVE.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi all,

So, i posted here last year (near enough) and having had another attack during my teacher training placement and thus inducing another panic attack and making a complete fool of myself to work colleagues and having an ambulance called out, I decided to go back to another cardiologist.

This time, OH MY GOD, I had a great doctor called Dr Sanjay Arya (Wigan, England) who completely understood what it was I was going through and has recommended me to an electrophysiologist! When I found out, after 2/3 minutes of taking this information in I actually cried and had to be taken into a room with a nurse. It is just such a relief, no more dear, anxiety, panic, depression or avoiding all the things I've given up for 7 years.

I am due to see the electrophysiologist in mid-May (2014) and I am hoping and praying to God that he will perform an ablation on me and cure me of my H*ll.

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1423357_tn?1373023915
I want to apologize for not answering your post of last June.  Perhaps I was away and it slipped off the page.  If you read my post above, you'll know that I can sympathize with you.  I had over 50 years of SVT events.  In my case it happened so many times that I was less concerned about death and more concerned about slowing it down.  I finally had it addressed when it became 3 to 5 times per month.  My delay in getting it fixed was due in part to my acceptance of it.  It became intertwined in my life, and I learned to accept it, to work around it.  Of course my events began long before the ablation procedure was invented.  I just accepted that if it hadn't killed me so far, that it wasn't going to for this event either.

I don't think you've mentioned how many events you get monthly.  Could you tell us?

Have you learned a method of slowing it down?  I learned Valsalva when I was only 6, and found that effective for the next 54 years.  Many times I could halt them within seconds of them starting up provided I was at rest.  Events that precipitated from high physical output often took 20 to 30 minutes to halt.  There are a number of things that you can try beside Valsalva.

While I endorse cardiac ablation for SVT, I'd caution you about rushing into it.  I look at how many events you're experiencing first.  I'll look for your reply.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi,

Ok, so here's my problem. I rarely have SVT. I get it perhaps 1/2 times a year and because I only get it that rarely, the events don't become the norm to me. When they happen, I always then think "oh no, this is it, I could actually die now". And it's caused me great anxiety, panic attacks and depression. I can;t travel or do a lot of things where I feel I am outside of medical help e.g. town centres, shopping centres, concerts, theme parks, planes, trains etc.

However, please don't be misled that I get them only 1/2 times a year. This is purely because I am now too scared to do the things that bring them on. So, participating in sports and doing those sorts of activities have been eliminated from my life (many things that I love hence the depression) out of anxiety and fear of another attack.

If I had not given these things up I would perhaps be getting them maybe once a fortnight.

I cannot live with these mental scars anymore and I have thankfully been offered an ablation by my doctor now! It's the mental anguish and scarring it's caused more than the SVT itself really,  it has taken my life away.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
Please keep us apprised of the results of your procedure.  Also, if you need any pre-procedure advice, we're always around.  Good luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
I have SVT. I will be 57 this October and I've had this for the past at least 30 yrs. These days they are more frequent, last longer and are harder to stop with worsening dizziness and light-headedness.The longest episode was about 2 hrs. which sent me to the ER. That was when I was told what it was. Sometimes it makes me cough(I guess this is the breathlessness some describe). Sometimes I feel tightness in my chest that's usually when I feel the need to cough. Only once did I feel slight pain in my chest. I always feel like I will faint, but never do. My question to everyone posting here is do any of you have other conditions related to your nervous system such as Panic Disorder or panic attacks, Anxiety or an Anxiety Disorder with or without Depression or other mental Illnesses? I have an Anxiety Disorder with panic attacks. I'm wondering if these conditions are related to the SVT which is a nerve anomaly. Thanks. P.S. Mine are not exercise-induced. I have no idea what triggers it.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi i just recently been diagnosed with svt. Nonetheless its new to me and a bit frightening at times but I have been taught to settle it down with a few maneuvers. I'm 22 and have been very active , but about a week ago I took some pre-work out and my body rejected it and I guess I had a panic attack and locked up. I've never had this issue before and I guess its to early to tell if I really need a ablation. I guess if anyone could answer my question it would be, are there more minor forms of SVT or is everyone's just as bad? As well does anyone else sweat whenever these things occur? Other than that I have been feeling a bit more fatigued than usual but i'm staying positive and ensuring myself we will all get over this.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
There are a number of different types of SVT, but they all feel the same, and they all have the same characteristic of instantly starting and stopping.  Other than Wolff-Parkinson-White, I believe it is difficult to determine what kind of SVT you may have until they go in and map your heart.

If you have 2-3 SVT events per month, an electrophysiology procedure with intended ablation could be your ticket to a cure.

There are a number of methods to convert an episode.  Valsalva, or forcefully holding ones breath was very effective for me.  I woman on this forum reported that inverting her body by doing a headstand against a wall worked for her.  Face plants in ice water is reported to be effective as well.

If you're 22, you have your whole life ahead of you.  Don't let SVT run it for you.
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