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SVT or Sinus Tachycardia
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SVT or Sinus Tachycardia

writing about my mom. she is 70 years old. not overweight. no history of heart problems. just had cataract  surgery a few days ago and takes some drops for it and other meds for it.  may have gall stones.   few questions.
my parents had a huge fight. very stressful to her. she literarly flipped out and started to get extremely hysterical during the fight. ran out of the house. came back minutes later and complained about feeling weak and her heart fluttering. i thought it was a panic attack but she said she was feeling very weak . i called the ambulance. paramedics on call put her on monitor and found 220 bpm and i heard one of them say svt. and they gave her some iv drug . forgot which one and moments later she was down to 120 and felt  lot better

1. could this have been very rapid sinus tachy rather than an svt? what is the difference between very fast sinus tach and svt? is there a limit to sinus tach? like lets say 180 is the highest for example?

2. can a huge panic attack or extreme stress when she turned hysterical during the arguement have brought on the svt rather than some electrical problem?

3. could her gallstones have something to do with the onset of the possible svt? or the post cataract surgery medicine?

4. my understanding is this on svts.  it goes from lets say 90 bpms to lets say 200 bpms instantly am i correct in this?   i asked her whether hers jumped in like that or whether it was slowly building up from the heavy arguement and extreme stress. if it slowly build up to her 220 bpm does that mean it was super fast sinus tachy?

5. if it is svt. is svt hereditary?

6. can the vagus nerve cause svt?   for example.  her situation. extreme arguement and heavy stress from the days occurances.   stomach goes crazy from the stress. presses on vagus nerve. vagus nerve causes   svt.   possible? make sense?

6. exersize safe in her case??

thanks in advance everyone

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404682 tn?1324583418
In response to your questions.. although Im not a doctor..

1. The difference between svt and sinus tach is where the impulse originates in the heart and this can be determined by looking at the ekg. As far as a limit to the beats per minute for sinus tach I believe it's typically seen around 150 but can go higher.

2 - 3 Many things can cause svt, emotional stress and certain types of medications as well as caffiene and alcohol.

4. I have not heard or read anything regarding a slow or fast buildup.. I do know that svt is usually caused by what is known as flight or fight syndrome which is that surge of adenaline we get and can cause rapid heart rate.

5. SVT alone is not hereditary but if it's caused by an underlying medical condition then that condition may be.

6. Vagus nerve can cause tachycardia in some cases , one of the things people are taught to do when having a tachy episode is to bear down like they are have a bowel movement as this interferes with the vagal stimulation.

7. as far as exercise being safe.. to be perfectly honest she should go for a cardiac check - up if for nothing other than peace of mind. :-)

I hope these help.
257552 tn?1404606154

I would be interested in what the eye drops consist of, if you know the name, I can do the research to see if they can contribute to arrhythmias. Better yet, you can ask your Pharmacist. Just because they are administer to the eye does not mean that they may not have an effect on her heart rhythm. Medication can be absorbed into the blood. Also, the Tear Ducts drain into the sinuses, offering an avenue for absorption in the sinuses or directly by swallowing small amounts of the medication as it drains into the throat.

DO NOT, under any circumstances, suggest that your mother change ANY medication without her Doctor's approval. The Eye Drops may have nothing to do with the arrhythmia, it is just a suggestion that I am willing to research.

The difference between SVT and Sinus Tachycardia? Here is a Doctor's Answer, from this forum, on the same topic. The link is provided, as well as the relevant text:


"Q1:"What is the difference between sinus tach and SVT? would they show up differently on an EKG?"

Sinus tach is the normal response to stress: exercise, fear, anxiety, fever, etc.  An SVT is an abnormal fast heart fhythm that originates or involves the upper chambers of the heart.  Rarely, SVTs can mimic sinus tach on an EKG and be difficult to properly diagnose.  This situation most commonly occurs with an SVT called IST(Innapropriate Sinus Tach)."

In stead of looking at it as an “Electrical Problem”, in your mother’s case, without any previous history of SVT, consider it an “Electrical Aberration” something that occurred but will not necessarily recur. SVT is not that uncommon of a rhythm disturbance, often it is referred to as PSVT, or Paroxysmal Supra Ventricular Tachycardia. The Paroxysm means that it comes on “suddenly”. Supra means “above”. So, to break down the word, it actually means a suddenly occurring tachycardia whose origin is above the ventricles. Most often, SVT or PSVT is not considered life threatening, and many people on this forum have this disorder. I have occasionally been affected by it, while sitting and watching TV, my heart rate would instantly go very fast, fortunately only lasting several seconds. The events were caught on a Loop Event Monitor, and determined to be PSVT. My Cardiologist was not concerned in my case.

Hereditary? I do believe that I am the only one among 2 other brothers and a sister, as well as knowledge of my parents, that has any arrhythmia. I have Migraine, as does my mother, sons, nephews, etc. A definitely a Hereditary streak exists in my case with Migraine. I would not believe that SVT is generally hereditary.

The Vagus (or Vagal) Nerve is responsible for slowing your heart rate. Over stimulation of the Vagal Nerve makes your heart rate too slow, but I would imagine that, with age, and diminishing tone of the nerve and related systems, that it could fail to bring the heart rate down as quickly as in someone where the nerve is functioning normally. This is all conjecture on my part though.

Your mother should follow-up with her Family Doctor or Cardiologist, and bring a  "complete" list of her medications, including the eye drops and INCLUDING any vitamins, supplements, cold medications currently taken or taken at the time.
Overall, it's not likely that you have any Hereditary concerns with SVT, not of great significance at least.

Anxiety can contribute to heart arrhythmias, many of which are benign (though the feel of them can be quite a concern for many of us). Caffeine, despite our fondness of coffee, should be eliminated or seriously restricted in anyone with arrhythmias, especially until they are cleared by their Doctors for the consumption of it.

Hope this helps. Be well.
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