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170935 tn?1225374676

STOPPING SVT ATTACKS........

Hi everyone,
As some of you know i was diagnosed with SVT 7 months ago but i have been having episodes since i was about 13 yrs old.
The other day i had a short svt attack at night. Before laying down i could feel alot of discomfort and pressure in my chest. When the attack started i sat up and had an urge to belch (disgusting i know!) As soon i belched the svt stopped in its tracks!!! Usually they last for a minimum of 15 mins but this time it stopped in about a minute!
Has any other svt sufferer experienced this?? What other techniques do you find actually work??
Thanks x
26 Responses
Avatar universal
Wow you sound just like me.  I also started having attacks around age 13 but wasn't diagnosed til age 24.  Kept being told I was having panic attacks, until someone finally bothered to check me on an EKG.

Anyway, anything that stimulates the vagus nerve can stop an episode and belching probably did just that.  Another way of doing this is holding your breath and bearing down like you're going to the bathroom, plunging your face into ice cold water, gagging or coughing.
Avatar universal
I can't believe that this question was just asked.  I was just thinking this morning as I was waking up that I needed to ask the very same question for my daughter (12).  Now my question is, can doing these things to STOP the svt actually make it worse?  This is all brand, brand new to my daughter and me so please don't laugh at my questions!

Thanks.

Carla
Avatar universal
Oatbucket, the maneuvers used to stop SVT will not make it worse.  Every cardiologist, doctor and EMT I've ever discussed my SVT with has recommended them and you can read about them online (search for Valsalva Maneuver or vagal nerve maneuvers).

Nobody will laugh at your questions.  We were all new at this once ourselves.
170935 tn?1225374676
Thanks for replying
I too was told that i was having panic attacks!! (so frustrating) My GPs just didn't believe me until i had a long episode caught on a monitor at hospital. If you don't mind me asking are you on any meds for the svt? How frequent and long are your attacks? Do you also get missed beats??
Avatar universal
i have svt for 6 years dr keep givinf=g me zoloft paxal been to hospital ermany time but they convert before any meds i am alwys scared they happen alot at night I cant  go any were scared of being alone that I will die no one seems to know whats happening I am very depressed my life is so confined what can I do
1437328 tn?1283802247
What things start an SVT attack? Can I set it off myself? I know how to stop them, I just want to avoid things that start it off, also if I were to faint how long would I be out for and would I fall softly or stiffen and fall? Im pretty scared about fainting, ive had SVT for nearly 3 years, diagnosed with it when I was 13ish. Please help :)
Avatar universal
Hi, i have not yet been diagnosed with SVT but i have been having attacks similar to this since i was about 11 and i am now 16. The other day i was taken into hospital with a really bad attack and my heart rate was recorded at 310. Obviously i am only young and if anyone who has had this for a long time has any advice on how too stop these attacks it would be a great help, thanks.
Avatar universal
I have tried a few things and sometimes they 'revert' my svt's which I've had on and off for over 15 years. Bend down suddenly from the waist - (reach for the bottom drawer my old doc called it) and then straighten back up.
Lay down on your back and hold your breath and 'bear down' like you're trying to push your stomach out as hard as you can. Do that a couple of times.  
Grab a glass of preferably cold (icy is best) but really gassy coke or mineral water and really gulp it down and get to burp a lot or ever kind of 'choke' on it. That usually works the best for me - fill up with gas an burp really big
If you are home and allowed, a big gulp of brandy or whisky which 'takes your breath away' for a second, or a gulp of strong vinegar can have the same affect. It shocks the system and often reverts the svt.
Also, ask the doctor how to massage your carotid artery, but that is only advisable if the doc agrees and shows you how. Best is the cold gassy drinks and burps. Good luck, but get your problem properly diagnosed and maybe hey will prescribe medication like a beta blocker to help stop them. They do work.
Avatar universal
How do you stop them? 10 million of us would like to know. I've had them for 15 years and never actually fainted, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. Just sit down when you feel one triggers.
Avatar universal
I'm not a medical expert. I have no training. I'm sure a good portion of my beliefs and values are fairly skewed, in fact. But I do suffer from SVT, and I have learned a few things about it, at least as far as it relates to me personally.

I've been having SVT episodes for about 5 years now. Generally, they occur when I'm stressed, anxious, overcaffeinated, and/or physically exerted, but sometimes they seem to crop up randomly. They've become common enough that I can usually stifle them in a matter of seconds. Other times they're more stubborn, but I'd say 85% of the time I can get it under control quickly.

Through my many trials and errors I've come to the conclusion that, in my case at least, it's all about relaxation. Getting yourself into a place of total relaxation and comfort. Physically AND mentally. I know that sounds almost insultingly cliche, but for me, it's not about the conscious breathing exercises and respiratory acrobatics. It's about getting into a comfort zone.

When my attacks kick in, I think like most, I become dizzy and anxious, my heart jackhammering through my ribcage, and I certainly don't think clearly. There's a feeling of fear and desperation. The swirling colors and flashing white spots clouding my vision don't help things either.

I'm the type to over-think things to the point of neurosis at times - I tend to have bouts of insomnia that can last days or even weeks. Each night that I don't sleep snowballs into an even worse experience the next night. The point being that I get inside my own head and complicate things. When I have an SVT attack, I tend to over-think it and make myself even more anxious. For me, the intensive breathing exercises, the bearing down ("like you're taking a poo"... are all doctors trained to say that?), the ice-water face-plunge, the blowing into straws, etc. generally only serve to elevate my heart rate and anxiety level. Because I'm exerting so much effort that I can't possibly relax.

I once became so desperate that I engaged in these improvised yoga-type breathing exercises/dance moves in my living room, focusing way too hard on my breathing and posture. Within moments I had succeeded in skyrocketing my heart rate up to record levels and completely blinding my vision with black-and-white spots, while looking like an *** in the process. My point being that I was making too much of the issue - you tend to become more frantic, stressed, desperate and increasingly disconcerted when each exercise fails to bring you back to earth. My very first attack 5 years ago landed me in the back of an ambulance, so in the back of my mind there's always that fear: "This could be the one that lands me back in the hospital. I HAVE to get this under control, quick." Which doesn't do much for the relaxation process.

What ALWAYS works for me, is this:

1.) Close your eyes, exhale fully. Then take a deep, deep breath, hold it for a second, and exhale very slowly while bearing down. Don't just mimic the steps, though: that's where I end up over-thinking it and making things worse. Really FEEL relaxation. Get yourself calm. Know that you can get it under control: it happens all the time to many, many people, many of whom have become so experienced with it that they can swat away SVT episodes like flies. It's common, it's not a medical emergency, and you'll be fine in a few seconds. And that's usually what works for me.

2.) Sometimes it doesn't though. If it's being stubborn, remove yourself to a location where you can feel comfortable. Away from bright lights and a concerned audience. Physically get up and go to a room - a fluffy chair or what-have-you - wherever you legitimately feel you can relax. For me, if I feel that I HAVE to get my heart rate down, then I won't. There can't be a sense of urgency. And there can't be self-consciousness. If people are watching me attempt to right my ship, or if I'm in a place where I simply don't feel at ease, then I'm not going to hit a comfort zone. Tuck yourself into a cozy spot where you can let the tension just melt away. Close your eyes and take the deep breaths and slow exhales while bearing down, but mostly just stay calm. Relax and know you'll be fine in a matter of seconds. If it takes longer, that's fine. You're not going to explode, though it's sometimes tough to believe it while you're experiencing it.

I don't have any further advice on what to do if that doesn't work; for me, it always has. The trick is getting out of your own head. Don't expect the worst. I believe that if you're truly relaxing, and are able to assure yourself that you're not in any danger, and that your episode is only temporary, then the episodes will usually melt away. Get yourself away from any surrounding stimuli that are causing you anxiety or self-consciousness and just let the episode roll right through you. They come and go.

Sorry for the rant. Haven't been sleeping much lately.
2 Comments
You are so right! So much of it is in our head. If I see immediately that the deep breathing and the bearing down doesn't work, what usually works for me is submerging my entire face in a sink full of ice and ice cold water about 5x in a row. I've had svt since I was about 11 years old. I am 64. The main thing is to remain calm throughout the episode, try to lie down and just relax. I did have the adenisone administrated 4x in my life and it's an awful feeling, so I don't go to the er unless my attack is lasting for over an hour or more and I've exhausted every maneuver that I've been taught.
not sure what all that ' is!! Sorry
Avatar universal
When I had my very first svt attack on Christmas 2010 I tought I drank too much coffee. The other theory was stress, anxiety and too much work. It took me several hours to revert my heart beat. That time I didn't know what svt is. I laid down, relaxed and drank lots of water. My symptoms were very fast heart beats for a few minutes and then chills.
After that day I quit drinking coffee. I thought that was a major cause.
Well, four weeks after I was going to bed and when I laid down the same happened. For sure not because of caffeine. I took my time, I relaxed, calmed down and that worked after 1.5 hours. Next day that happened again at work. I had to go home ( and finally found this forum).
I though a lot if there is anything common as for timing of svt attacks. I came with the conclusion that it was stress- and anxiety - related. In both times I was exposed to a stressful situations 1-2 days before the attacks. So far - same as in Tinusch's case- relaxation works best.
Avatar universal
I've had svts fro about 8 years - diagnosed about 3 years ago when I had one at at friend's house and a GP was there!  I can usually control them with inhale, hold breath and bear down - sometimes not.  Then "alternate nostril breathing can help. Block one nostril with your finger. Inhale slowly through the other, hold for count of 3, and then release blocked nostril, block the other,adn exhale gently.   Repeat a couple of times..... I agree with previous person...  try to find a quiet place and relax.  It is hard if you are in a public place or in a meeting, and trying to hide it!.
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