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Tachycardia Concerns!
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Tachycardia Concerns!

I have been diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia along with a sinus arrhythmia. This is a result of negligence on my part and not watching what substances I put into my body.

I am only 21 but experience SVT (or PSVT?) on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, depending. I'm not quite sure what triggers my SVT but it is quite nerve racking. I experience chest-discomfort on a daily basis and also find it difficult to catch a full breath, although I do if I try yawning a few times.

I have quit smoking cigarettes, marijuana, drinking alcohol, and partaking in other substances (stimulants) for over 2 months now.

I am quite frightened, to the point where I am afraid to go for walks as the last episode was triggered going for a brisk walk after returning from seeing my doctor who gave me my diagnosis. I sometimes feel a light sensation in or around my heart area, a butterfly sensation along with a light discomfort when I breath at times (although this may be in my head?).

I have been prescribed Teva-Dilitizem, taking one 30mg tablet daily. I have been on it for only a few days now but do not notice any effects as of yet.

I am concerned about my health and whether or not I am in imminent danger, especially whilst exercising. I've had 2 ekgs performed as well as an echocardiogram and they've all returned positive results except for the sinus arrhythmia and SVT that a holter monitor picked up (heart rate shot up to 170). I believe my cardiologist also said my left ventricle is slightly enlarged but that could be due to stress.

These palpitations are driving me crazy and I am paralyzed by fear in not knowing when the next episode of SVT will occur. So now I don't move anymore than I have to.

My main inquiry is how much danger am I in? Is it safe to exercise (mainly walking) with SVT? Even when I experience SVT whilst walking at times?  If my echo came out fine but I still have SVT/tachycardia, does that mean my heart is healthy and can take the palpitations/SVT without risk of sudden death or atrial fibrillation/ventricular tachycardia? Do you recommend that I exercise anyway and that it is safe to do so? My doctor told me exercise is good for the heart and to cut down if I experience palpitations. Well that same day while walking I had an episode and sat down to get my heart rate down while trying to take deep breaths and not panic. I hate this!!! Anyhow, I am hoping for a 2nd opinion from someone who may have an idea of what I am going through! Thanks!
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35 Comments Post a Comment
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1464004_tn?1384139333
Hi, many of us have SVT and PSVT on this site and all are here talking about it all the time. It makes us feel better. As long as your Dr says your heart is ok and he tells you to exercise, then go to it! I have had PVCs/PACs and PSVT for what seems like forever, and I'm still kickin (I'm 54 and have been going through most of this for more than 20 years). Has your doc recommended an ablation, or talked to you about it? I haven't had one yet (insurance issues) but many folks on this site have, and are doing great. Read through everyones experiences...it WILL help, and keep talking about it, this site has some really helpful folks on it! Hang in there.
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187666_tn?1331176945
Well, I've had PSVT for about 50 years (almost my whole life). I've had and raised 3 kids, go walking, belong to a gym and have worked with wildlife for almost 21 years now. I have had 3 ablations to bring the PSVT under control but it still fires off now and then.

When my heart is tachy (150-198 bpm) I stop what I'm doing and wait for it to kick back to normal. If it doesn't want to settle down after a minute or so, I do the valsalva maneuver (take a breath, hold and bear down like going potty). That usually kicks it back to normal. The valsalva isn't all that comfortable because I can feel my heart thump and complain but it works.

As for the medication, it takes a good month before you'll feel a difference in your everyday life. Don't give up. And don't stop living because your heart likes to zip along now and then.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for the replies, I'm just wondering if the chest pain accompanies it and is it normal? Today I woke up with more chest pain then usual, in the center of my chest, and sometimes I feel a light pain where my heart would be located.


This is all very scary to me as I fear of dying suddenly with no warning :\
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1569985_tn?1328251082
Talk to your doctor about your anxiety and try to get something to take for it.  I take low dose Xanax (along with a beta blicker and an anti-arhythmic) to calm down when my heart gets wacky.  It might not hurt to get some therapy to help you deal with this.  I know how scary it can be.  It can get better -- don't let is take over your life.  Good luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'd rather stay away from anxiety drugs as I believe meditation can help that, I am just concerned about the physical symptoms. Is it normal to have chest pain inbetween SVT episodes?

I wouldn't mind seeing a psychologist though.
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967168_tn?1343732745
I think the best thing I ever did was go to a Psychiatrist and he referred me to a psychotherapist.  Anyone dealing with a recurring illness may benefit from talking to someone - especially if you don't want to take meds; for me I do both I take Lamicatal and see both a Pdoc and therapist.

arrhythmia's can wreck havoc on the bravest of souls...

I've had arrhythmia's and fainting episodes from age 9 - 42, then was dx with PVC's, VT, Vtach, PAC's SVT my heart's a roller coaster of ups and downs daily.

If your doctor says your heart is structurally normal and it's ok to exercise, the worst thing you can do is stop moving - especially exercise; which will ward against CAD and heart disease and vitally important in keeping our hearts strong and healthy and can help with anxiety and stress.

I think exercise and keeping fit was a main reason when my heart did stop that I made it through; albeit a bit banged up on the other side but still alive and kicking =)
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1807132_tn?1318747197
I would not advise exercising while you are having an episode but when you are free definitely exercise.  It may not be able to stop the episodes but you will find you can tolerate them much better when your heart is healthier.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I used to consider myself somewhat active, walking everyday and I used to work out. However now I am reluctant as even a simple walk or mowing the lawn can trigger an SVT. I hate being away from home when an SVT hits as I have no cell phone to call anybody and I'm stuck walking back atleast 15-20 mins during an episode.

Is this safe? Should I stop everything I'm doing when it occurs and sit down? The last time it happened I was out on a brisk walk and 20 mins in I feel a palpitation and than boom my heart rate shoots up. I walked a little bit further and found a place to sit down (was around a bunch of university students so I didn't want to panic). I was able to calm myself down and my heart rate settled after 5 mins or so. I then continued walking but felt a slight pain where my heart would be.

I am just worried that by putting myself through these exercises am I going to damage my heart or possibly end up dead?
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1807132_tn?1318747197
Have you been told exactly what type of svt you have?  I assume your condition is not life threatening.  I would think if it were your doctors would have let you know this.  However it is unclear to me whether you have simple sinus tachycardia or if you have a reentry type tachycardia.  Does the heart rate start and stop suddenly or does the beat gradually get faster and then gradually slows down after you rest?  Either way unless you have been told you have Ventricular Tachycardia you are likely not in any real danger.  Nothing is 100% guarenteed in life but the chances of you dieing from the svt are extremely rare.  I would, however, sit down and let the episode pass if you can but I moved around quite a bit when I was having episodes and never passed out or had any other complications.  Again, the exercising helped this tremendously.  Prior to exercising it was very difficult to tolerate the episodes.  I would have to lay down but once I got some cardio vascular exercising in the episodes were just a bit tiring.  My heart would feel sore as well depending on how long the episode lasted but the key to heart pain is if it sustains.  If it comes and goes it is likely not anything to be too concerned about as well.  Considering you just gave up a lifestyle that is pretty hard on the heart I would give your heart a chance to rest up and heal.  You may find that a lot of your symptoms go away the farther away you get from the unhealthy lifestyle you were living.  But you always have a right to get clarification from your doctor.  He is the best person to advise you on your health and wellbeing.
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Avatar_m_tn
No I haven't been told what type of SVT I have. Usually when the SVT occurs there's a palpitation (or a skipping of a beat) that precedes the episode whereupon my heart rate will race up to 170+ then settle when I sit down and calm myself. Othertimes, such as the last time I cut the grass, my heart rate shot up to 170 and was recorded on a holter monitor, but it wasn't until 3 hours after I cut the grass that I experienced palpitations in the shower (felt like my heart skipped a beat two or three times then raced then slowed down but no tachycardia). This wasn't picked up on the holter as it was after the allotted time.
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1807132_tn?1318747197
Well again, I can only go by my own symptoms and it may not be the same for you but I have had both conditions, avnrt svt and pvcs.  The avnrt would cause a sudden rapid heart rate around 230bpm.  The pvcs when they are flaring can cause me to have sinus tachycardia where my heart rate jumps to the 160s on exersion.  The two types of fast heart rate are and feel significantly different.  With the sinus tachycardia, which to me sounds like you have, the heart rate is simply faster than it should be and mostly just causes me to become short of breath.  Once I have rested a bit my heart rate will go back down.  But in general when I am having a bad pvc day I will have a faster heart rate on exersion and also my resting rate in general will be pretty sporadic but generally on the high side.  So unless you get diagonsed with a reentry svt there is not too much that the doctors will likely do beyond putting you on bp medicine.  Unfortunately those with pvcs are pretty much left to manage them for ourselves for the most part.  But again, it is very possible, once your heart has healed a bit your symptoms will subside to a less bothersome status.  They may never go away but hopefully they will ease up for you in the near future.
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Avatar_m_tn
Well I notice the "palpitation" usually happens when I breath in (which is related to my sinus arrhythmia?) and then the tachycardia starts. Would sinus arrhythmia be linked to sinus tachycardia or do they have no correlation?

The other time, which was before I had seen the cardiologist, the SVT came out of nowhere. I was sitting in class reading a book when I felt my heart gurgle or do something weird then all of a sudden my heart rate shot up and I panicked and walked home lol
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Avatar_f_tn
The first thing you also need to understand is that sinus arrhythmia is not a problem with the heart at all. When a person breathes in the heart rate increases; when he exhales, the rate slows down, that is what a sinus arrhythmia is and is perfectly normal. I have had SVT since I was in my teens and I'm now 60. I have also had children. What is important is if you have an arrhythmia problem with an underlying structural problem with your heart. If your cardiologist thinks your left ventrical is enlarged then you need to understand EXACTLY what that problem is before you do any real exercise like running or sports. Walking isn't going to do much of anything. At your age you probably do not have CAD; your body's hormones would be a protection against that. True heart related chest pain is caused by a lack of bloodflow to the heart muscle either caused by plague in the arteries (CAD) or by structural problems. What most people think of as chest pain/discomfort is actually the strong hearbeats that are called palpitations or an increased awareness of one's own heartbeat.
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1807132_tn?1318747197
Yes, there seems to be a breathing component to my pvcs as well. Sometimes when I breath in the heart will skip a beat but it isn't always on the breath in though my heart rate slows quite a bit when I breath in and then speeds up so it is jumping around a bit when I have the pvcs which may be what gives them a chance to fire.  If I hold my breath for any reason like when I bend down to tie my shoe or pick something up I can have a pvc.  But I can also get them just from changing position.  In any event, bp medicine that regulates your heart rate will show some improvement to the pvcs if there is the fluctuating heart rate component.  The more steady the beat the less likely a pvc will sneak in I guess.  That being said, your second comment sounds more like a reentry svt so you may have a secondary condition not related to the sinus tachycardia but you would need to get that captured on an event monitor to have a proper diagnosis.  If it is something you felt during one of your medical tests then I would say the doctors likely captured it and it was nothing more than the sinus tachycardia but if you didn't have one of those episodes captured then you may want to address those instances with your cardiologist who may give you an event monitor to record such an episode when it happens so long as you have enough of them to capture at least one in a month.  But as I stated before the two types of tachycardia feel totally different.  The Sinus Tachycardia feels like a simple fast heart rate but a reentry tachycardia feels more manic like the heart is beating super super fast.  Obviously only you can say for certain how it feels for you but if your heart all of a sudden starts to beat at upwards of 200bpm without provocation then you may have a reentry svt that could be treated but again you need to get that captured first.  However, if you do have a reentry svt and are able to get it treated and fixed you will still likely have the pvcs since it is a completely different animal.  The svt problem arising from somewhere in the atria whereas the pvcs arise from somewhere in the ventricles.  Completely different sections of the heart.  Unfortunately a lot of people who have an arrhythmia problem generally tend to have more than one issue.  And some of the issues we just have to learn to deal with.
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1807132_tn?1318747197
Just a side note on possibly what you felt in your class.  I had what is called avnrt.  It is a reentry tachycardia where there is a secondary pathway into the avnode.  I also had pvcs that are an extra beat arising from the ventricles that then cause the sinus rhythm to pause a beat.  It was the pause that would allow the secondary pathway signal to reach the center of the avnode and then get stuck in a circle whereas the electrical signal would go out the entry path and then back around.  There is a lot of literature online to help explain it a bit better but generally if you had that type of svt your heart rate would reach near 200 or more becasue the reentry path is very short.  But again, you need to get it captured to know for certain what is going on but definitely the disruption of a pvc in the steady beating of your heart will definitely give a reentry svt a change to go off.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks guys, I've been reading up on enlarged left ventricles and it doesn't sound good, but my doctor said it could be from stress.

Is walking a good thing to do? Does it strengthen the heart or would I need to do something more intensive (which at the moment I shouldn't until i figure out what's going on with my left ventricle?)
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Avatar_m_tn
My cardiologist sent my results from the ekg's/ecg/holter monitor up to London which is the best cardiology center in Canada in order to catch anything she might have missed, my next appointment isn't until the end of January I am assuming as she said it could take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to get in contact with the other hospital/center.

She seemed confident in letting me go home but I still have this thought in the back of my head that something's not quite right. Oh well I've got to put up with this I suppose. We'll see if the medication takes effect in a month or so.
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967168_tn?1343732745
I have concentric LVH, an enlarged heart, HOCM, valve problems, malignant arrhythmia's, PVC's, VT, PAC's, SVT and was advised by my dr's not to exercise the month or so before my ablation until they finished all my testing...afterwards I was told to walk as much as I could and felt like it; but it's best to ask your dr and make sure in your case.
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995271_tn?1408549100
sinus arrhythmia is perfectly normal.  

Dang I wish they would stop noting that on ECGs.  In fact, it's much more worrisome when sinus arrhythmia ISN'T present, but I digress....:-)

What type of SVT do you have?  If the episodes are sinus tachycardia, perhaps you are getting scared when you feel a palpitation of some sort and driving the rate up that way?  It's not uncommon for someone your age to drive the rate up towards 180 or so by getting panicky, and this can happen really fast.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm going to give my doctor a call tomorrow and ask her these questions, I'm not definite on what type of SVT I have.

Is an enlarged left ventricle something to be worried about?
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Avatar_f_tn
Okay....an enlarged left ventricle that is caused by stress???? I have LVH, have a daughter that had severe left and right (concentric) hypertrophy that was killing her before her transplant,and having worked in the field of cardiology........I've NEVER, EVER heard that LVH can be caused by stress!!! And I studied A LOT about the different Cardiomyopathies, especially about HCM! Stress will aggreivate arrhythmias in patients with cardiomyopathies and if the cardiomyopathy is serious enough, the walls of the heart, due to a lack of bloodflow, can cause arrhythmias to happen more frequently, but to say stress can cause a LVH, I just can't believe she said that to you. High Blood Pressure is the most common cause of LVH, IF there is no genetic component involved, in other words there are family members who all have the disease. In HBP, the LVH would not be classified as a primary disease, it would in a genetic setting. Go for that next opinion; you need it to understand the LVH!!      
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Avatar_f_tn
Another thought: Thickened heart walls (hypertrophy) can develop electrical tracts through the muscle and those tracts are uaually easily accessable from the normal electrical pathways of the heart. That is why you can end up with SVT. What is important to know is if the fast heart rate starts and stops on a dime, or if it speeds up and then slows down. If it starts and stops on a dime, that is caused by the electrical impulse "jumping" over to the track that shouldn't be there; when it stops on a dime, it does so because the impulse "jumping" bact to the correct pathway. It's kind of like a train leaving one track and making a loop then returning to the original track again. A heart rate that increases and decreases over a short period of time is usually caused by breathing, stress and anxiety or exercising. If there is any question of LVH in you, walk as much as you can, but don't do any strenuous exercises until you have been fully cleared for that.
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Avatar_m_tn
Oh geeze
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Avatar_m_tn
Okay she said it was reentrent SVT but she won't know for sure until the results come back from the other hospital which can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months :\

I asked her about the left ventricle and she said its nothing to worry about right now, she's scheduling a scan of my lungs.

She said I should be 100% fine so who do I trust?
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Avatar_m_tn
My blood pressure is 137/81 and if I recall correctly she said it was slightly enlarged
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Avatar_f_tn
A normal BP is 120/80. That is the relaxed normal BP. If you are at the doctor's office the bp you had would be perfectly normal. Usually they look more at the lower reading, than the higher. The top number is the systolic reading, the lowere is the diastolic reading. If the lower number is higher than 90, then they might consider you having High Blood Pressure. If your BP is normal all the time and you are not being trated for HBP, and there is any kind of issue with the left ventricle being enlarged in any way, you NEED to get that checked out! There could be a genetic component there that needs to be looked into. If there is nothing to worry about "right now" exactly when does she start to worry about it??? I seriously think you need to find another doctor who will take this a bit more seriously. At least get a second opinion from a good cardiologist, preferrably one who is at a large University Hospital where they are much more apt to see patients with these kinds of issues.
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Avatar_f_tn
I hate to say this, but right now I am so ticked off with the way you are being treated, I can't believe it.

Here's a peice of advice for you: Ask your doctor this question:

"If I have any kind of issue with my left ventrical, which is the primary beating chamber of my heart and I have an SVT attack, is my left ventrical going to be able to handle trying to keep up with the SVT?"

I would love to be a fly on the wall to watch your doctor's jaw hit the floor as well as loving to hear what she has to say in response!!

You are just 21 years old, it is not fair to you to be blown off this way!
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Avatar_m_tn
Well she is sending my reports into the London University Cardiology center which is the best in Canada, for a second opinion. Is 3-6 months too long to wait? I called her yesterday and she said she didn't send them yet, I called her again today and left her a message, hopefully she gets back to me!
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Avatar_m_tn
mild left atrial enlargement  oops, I misheard the Doctor when I went in for my assessment. So my left ventricle is not enlarged, such a relief. She called me back today and reread the results from my echocardiogram.
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Avatar_f_tn
So why is your left atrium enlarged???
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Avatar_m_tn
She said it could be caused by stress and that it is mild. I have been scheduled for a chest/lung x-ray this monday. My doctor is also sending my results up to the University of London cardiology center seeking a second opinion. However she is confident that both exams will return fine and is not too worried about my condition.

Should I be worried about a slight left atrial enlargement? Is she wrong in her diagnosis? Why would she tell me I have nothing to worry about if there wasn't anything to worry about? I believe she is a good doctor.
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Avatar_f_tn
This new diagnosis is probably nothing to worry about as your doctor is telling you. You are going to be evaluated, which is good. One thing you may want to consider doing is to really go through and read some of the posts on this site and consider the ages of the patients writing on here. Many of them are in their 40s,50s and older. Many of them have SVT and are still living and going strong. This is not a death sentence for you, these types of arrhythmias are a pain to live with, but that is about all. You have a long life ahead of you, try and enjoy it.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you :)

I had palpitations yesterday whilst accompanying my dad to his procedure. He has cancer and had to have a stent put into his liver and I was his designated driver.

While I was in the waiting room I had a palpitation, either a skipped or forceful beat but I told myself to remain calm and that my heart is alright. By doing this I was able to handle the palpitation as I accepted it as a normal thing.

On the way back from the hospital and just a little ways out, I experienced another palpitation, this time it felt like a flip flop but I once again told myself to remain calm and that it is nothing to worry about.

I had a third and final palpitation later that evening which was forceful and flip-floppy and the strongest one of the day, yet I still told myself to remain calm and that it is normal. On the last one I felt my heart rate increase slightly but because I remained calmed and refrained from panicking, it ended quickly without complications.

So now I am wondering if when I do experience these palpitations, that fear/adrenaline feeds the heart rate/palpitation and increases the likelihood of an SVT episode?

Although I still don't understand why my heart rate would shoot up to 170 BPM after 20 mins of cutting the grass, which is a relatively low intensity work out.
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1701959_tn?1399378594
My HR goes high with minimal effort as well. Always has. When I work out, it hits 200 bpm within a few moments of doing cardio. Even getting up in the morning and moving around can cause my HR to go high. It can also be deconditioning.

My PVCs I think bother me more then anything though. I hate that strong thump.
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1423357_tn?1414258965
"I have been diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia along with a sinus arrhythmia. This is a result of negligence on my part and not watching what substances I put into my body. "

If it's any consolation to you, your heart was probably "mis-wired" all along. Trashing your bod with various substances only revealed it.  You said your cardiologist noted that you have a re-entrant form of SVT.  AVNRT I think is the most common form.  AVRT (which had) is a less common form. In a vast majority of cases, both of these forms are curable with cardiac ablation.

SVT is far from a "death sentence"; on the contrary.  Many of us here participate in high aerobic sports, and compete on a high level.  I might have had SVT the longest of any current member on the forum, at 54 years.  I believe "ireno" is a close second.

So don't beat yourself up over it.  But now that it's been revealed, learn to cope with it and control it rather than letting it control you.
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